Entertainment and Leisure, Work at Height - FAQs

Work at height

Can I move an occupied Tallescope?

There may be circumstances in which moving an occupied Tallescope may be justifiable but these should be very rare, and even then only in accordance with a system of work. There is a hierarchy of methods for working at height, which expects you to use the safest method if reasonably practicable, and there are safer ways of working at height than using a Tallescope. Advice on training and the use of Tallescopes can be obtained from the manufacturer or from the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)


I don't have any equipment for rescuing people if they get stuck or become incapacitated while working at height. Can I rely on the fire brigade to cover this for me?

No. If you need to have people working at height then you must have a system in place to get them safely to the ground yourself, if the need arises. Bear in mind that the person may be unconscious, there may be no electricity, there could be a fire, etc. If the fire brigade are available they will certainly assist but you must assume they may not be and plan accordingly.


I manage a theatre and during a recent concert one of my employees asked for some ear protection. Am I expected to provide this?

Yes. Whether or not the self-employed artists use hearing protection is a matter for their own risk assessment but, as an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees are not exposed to levels of noise that may damage their hearing. You must conduct an assessment of the noise levels and decide on methods to control the risk. If you decide that personal protective equipment, such as hearing protection, should be one of those methods then you must provide and pay for it. Further advice can be found in: Sound advice.

Do the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 apply to members of the audience at a show?

No. These Regulations apply only to people working in the venue so they will not apply to members of the audience.

Secondary bonding

I have always used chain for safety bonding but have been told at the theatre I work in that I must now use steel wire. Is this a legal requirement?

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require employers to take steps to ensure that people can't be hurt by falling objects. This involves assessing the risks and taking action to control them. If the theatre's risk assessment suggests this is best managed with steel wire rather than chain then they have a duty to implement that control. As an employee, you have legal duties to co-operate with your employer to ensure they can comply with their duties.

The power cable and connectors for the lights in the rig are more than capable of taking the weight of the light should it come loose from its fixing. Can I say that this is my secondary bonding?

No. Neither the power cable nor the connector have been designed or tested to ensure they can take the weight of the lamp as a shock load. This is particularly important in the case of the cable as it may suffer internal damage, not visible within the insulation, that could lead to a dangerous condition.

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