Common work at height tasks at events
This page gives examples of generic good practice in the planning and assessment of tasks requiring work from height during an event. More tasks will be added to this list as appropriate.
Questions to ask include:
- How high is the job from the ground?
- What surface will the access equipment rest on?
- Is this surface strong enough to take the weight of the workers and their equipment?
- What is the ground condition under the area where access equipment might need to be set up – for example, is it sloping or uneven? The access equipment you use must be suitable for the ground conditions – stable, level, and not liable to fall or collapse.
- Is it raining hard, or very windy?
What tools or materials will you need for the work? How will you get them up and down safely?
Make sure that no loose items are taken into the grid, eg by use of pocketless overalls, tie-lines on tools and equipment etc. You may also need to create an exclusion zone below the working area, eg by erecting a barrier.
In order to enforce this, you may need some form of warning system when the grid is occupied. Everybody working in the area should be clearly aware of the system being used.
Types of access
When looking at what you need to do the job, think about the following…
From the ground
Can production crews install the majority of rigging points, hand trusses, lamps etc from the ground?
From the grid
- If you need to work from the grid, does it have guardrails or other equipment that will prevent a fall?
- If no, can this be installed?
From a platform
- Can you do the work from a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP), tower scaffold or tallescope?
- Advice on training and the use of Tallescopes can be obtained from the manufacturer or from the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
- Do you need personal fall protection to allow safe access?
- Rope access work is a highly specialist activity. For further guidance see BS 7985:2009 Code of Practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes
From a ladder
- Is the work low risk and short duration?
- Do you have a ladder that will reach the area?
- Can you secure the ladder safely?
- Can you or your workers use the ladder safely?
Make sure that you know what the job entails and that the people who will do the job have the right experience and training to do it safely.
Plan the work properly before you start. Include in your plan what you will do in an emergency, or if someone falls. Involve the workers who are doing the job in your planning and consult them about the right equipment to use.
Check that the grid is strong enough to support any weight you put on it.
Make sure that nothing can fall off the truss work and injure someone. If there is a risk of this, make sure no one comes into the area below the work.
Take frequent breaks, especially when working from a ladder – do not work from a ladder for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
If you use a ladder, keep three points of contact wherever possible.
If you are hiring access equipment, make sure you are competent to use it safely and know how to install and dismantle it safely – ask the hirer for instructions or assistance if you need them.
Any lighting fixture or other suspended lighting equipment should have a suitable safety chain or safety wire fitted. The weight of any flown lighting equipment should not exceed the safe working load of the securing points. No flown or suspended equipment, including lighting bars and amplification equipment, should rely solely on one suspension cable, clamp or bolt. Each means of suspension should be secured to independent fixing points on the flown equipment and the structure.