Five Safety Guidelines to Take to Heart
Whether you are in a fixed facility of a portable church, if you have any type of lighting system, it’s safe to say you are familiar with trusses and rigging. In order to maintain a safe environment, you need to get in the habit of checking your rigging on a regular basis and looking for signs of wear and tear – whether you move your equipment on a regular basis or not. Below is a list of five common hazards you need to be aware of.
Know the Safe Working Load (SWL) of all the components in your rigging system, and make sure you don’t exceed the SWL for the weakest component. Don’t cut corners and use hardware that does not have a SWL forged into it – they may cost less, but you’re risking a lot. The last thing any HoW needs is a piece of equipment falling from the truss because it was too heavy for the bolt or clamp securing it.
Make sure your rigging and all components are correctly installed. Keep your installations neat and clean, and make sure all hardware is properly terminated. Keeping your rigging orderly makes inspections easier, and also helps ensure the forces on the components are within the equipment’s design limits.
Your rigging is only as strong as its weakest link – a piece of damaged equipment is a danger to your entire system. Replace damaged components right away, and try to replace them with components that have a great rating to help prevent damage in the future. Never replace a broken or damaged part with a piece that has a lower SWL – that’s just asking for trouble.
Ensure that the components being used are appropriate for the application. Using equipment in jobs it was designed for, or modifying components to suit your needs, is dangerous. Rigging and trussing components have strict guidelines for a reason! Deviating from intended use is irresponsible and cause extensive damage to your gear, and – in extreme cases – can also cause injury and death.
Even though you are regularly monitoring your rigging and trussing (because you are, right?), you should arrange to have a professional come in once a year to inspect everything thoroughly. If you’ve had to replace or repair any component in that year, keep a repair and maintenance log, which will help you identify problem spots. Nothing lasts forever, but being proactive will prevent accidents before they happen. You want people to be knocked out by your worship services, not falling fixtures!