Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stage Safety

Back in March I detailed how to determine the proper horizontal size of a stage. The topic has proven to be quite popular, so I am now going to add some more to it and discuss stage safety.

Too many event producers and event managers are unaware of the fact that there are currently no North American standards for the allowable loading of stages. Why is this important? Consider the fact that, in the last seven years, at least fifteen temporary stages have collapsed at special events in various countries around the world. Now I'm not talking about the trussing and roof structures over or around or near stages but the actual stage surfaces themselves. Trussing is another serious problem in itself and I'll talk about it in the future. In many of these incidents, people were seriously injured or killed. In fact, some of the collapses were of the stages that major stars were to perform on.

Here are links to several You Tube videos of stage collapses:
Event producers must be aware of the allowable loading for any given stage design, and since there are no standards, it makes this point even more important because, as part of proper risk management, the stage provider, whether it is a venue or a subcontracted staging company, should be able to provide producers with the deck manufacturer’s figures for safe loading limits. In the case of customized staging, the builder should have made proper calculations or should provide proper calculations from a certified structural engineer to prove that the staging will be adequate for the loads anticipated.

If the staging is owned by a venue, that venue should be able to provide an event manager/producer with the documentation for the allowable loading of the staging. Guesswork or corporate knowledge does not suffice.

I'll delve deeper into the actual loads in my next post.

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