Providing Backdrop Rentals and Theatrical Equipment and Supplies

THEATRE SAFETY PROGRAMS
SAFETY AND TRAINING INFORMATION
Safety is no accident

Manual Rigging System Operation

The system shall be operated only by trained, authorized personnel.

In normal operation counterweights equal to the weight of the scenery attached to the batten are loaded into the counterweight carriage or arbor. These weights are loaded from the loading bridges after the scenery is attached to the batten.

During rehearsals or performances a technician moves the scenery or "flyman" operating the lineset at the lock rail. Scenery attached to a lineset that moves during a performance is called a "Working Piece."

The flyman is to have visual contact with the moving piece of scenery at all times during its movement. If the flyman cannot maintain visual contact through the entire travel distance, a second person or "spotter" shall be located in a position where he/she can see the working piece during its entire travel distance and is immediately able to communicate any problems to the flyman.

CREW RESPONSIBILITIES:
      • (HEAD) FLYMAN: The flyman directs the loading and unloading of scenery, equipment and counterweights. The flyman controls the sequence of operation by giving directions for loading or unloading of counterweights and the removing or attaching of scenery or equipment. The flyman also determines when the lineset is in balance. The flyman operates the rigging system during the performance. If there is more than one flyman, one shall be designated as the head flyman. The head flyman is responsible for supervision of the entire flying operation. The head flyman is responsible for maintaining the rigging system usage log.
      • LOADING BRIDGE CREW or "LOADERS": The loading bridge crew or “loaders” load or unload counterweights as instructed by the flyman.
      • STAGE CREW: The stage crew, under the direction of the head carpenter, technical director or head electrician, loads or unloads the scenery, lights or other equipment from the battens (or spot lines). The flyman gives the order to attach or remove the scenery or equipment. During setup and strike the stage crew head is responsible for determining that the area around a moving piece is clear and that piece being loaded or unloaded and will not foul on curtains, scenery, battens, lights or other equipment.

      • When the scenery or draperies are resting on the floor as they are being attached or removed from the batten their full weight is not being used to offset the counterweights used to balance them. The stage crew may have to hold the batten down while the counterweights are being loaded or removed from the arbor. They may do this by holding the batten with their hands or by using a "bull line."

      • WHEN HOLDING A BATTEN BY HAND, NEVER LEAN OVER IT. IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO LET GO OF THE BATTEN QUICKLY IF THE BATTEN RUNS AWAY.

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Loading and unloading of counterweights:

      • WARNING: Removing the load from a batten before the counterweights are removed from the arbor is DANGEROUS.

To attach a piece of scenery or other equipment to a batten the following procedure shall be followed:

        NOTE: The loader should load or unload counterweights only when instructed to do so by the flyman.
        CAUTION: An out of balance lineset shall NEVER be left unattended.

      1. The flyman brings the batten that is to be loaded to its lowest position.
      2. The flyman secures the lineset.

      3. WARNING: The rope lock is only to be used to secure the arbor from moving when the lineset is in a balanced condition. The rope lock is not intended to secure out-of-balance loads.

      4. The crew attaches scenery, drop(s), lighting equipment or other items securely to batten.
      5. The flyman determines the weight of the material attached to the batten and calculates the number of weights to be placed on the counterweight arbor.
      6. The flyman informs the weight loader of the number of counterweights to be placed on the arbor.
      7. The weight loader on the loading bridge adds the estimated amount of counterweight to the arbor, placing spreader plates every 12 weights. The hold down plate and remaining spreader plates are placed on top of counterweights and the setscrews on the hold down plate or retaining collars are tightened.

      8. NOTE: Weights used for "pipe weight" are counted in first 12 weights unless a spreader plate is placed on the top the “pipe weight”.

      9. The weight loader informs the flyman that the weights have been added and arbor secured.
      10. The flyman carefully checks to see if the lineset is in balance. If it is in balance the batten is flown to a suitable height (out of the way of the crew) and the rope lock is secured and next set may be loaded. If lineset is not in balance steps 5 thru 8 are repeated until lineset is in balance.

      11. CAUTION: At NO TIME should a flyman and/or loader be working with more than one lineset.
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To remove a piece of scenery or other equipment from a batten the following procedure is to be followed:

      1. The flyman brings the batten that is to be unloaded to its lowest position.
      2. The flyman secures the lineset.

      3. CAUTION: The rope lock is only to be used to secure the arbor from moving when the lineset is in a balanced condition. Rope locks are not intended to secure out-of-balance loads.

      4. The flyman requests the weight loader to remove all counterweights except "pipe weight." If only some items are to be removed the flyman calculates the number of weights to be removed and informs the weight loader to remove this number. The weight loader should repeat the number of weights to be removed or say "going to pipe weight."
      5. The weight loader removes the requested number of counterweights from the arbor and places the hold down plate on top of the remaining counterweights and tightens the setscrews on the hold down plate or retaining collars.
      6. The weight loader informs flyman that the requested number of counter weights has been unloaded or the arbor is at "pipe weight."
      7. Scenery, drop(s), lighting equipment, or other items are removed from batten.
      8. Flyman carefully checks to see if lineset is in balance. If it is in balance the rope lock is secured and next set may be unloaded. If lineset is not in balance steps 3 thru 8 are repeated until lineset is in balance.
      9. When the batten is unloaded and correctly balanced it is flown to its highest point or normal working level and rope lock secured.
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Approved methods of securing an arbor are:

      1. A stopper hitch tied around the arbor operating line(s) and to the eye provided for this purpose on the lock rail.
      2. Twisting together of operating lines. Manually (for small loads) or by use of a belaying pin.
      3. Use of a mechanical device designed for the purpose of securing linesets.
      4. NOTE: The belaying pin MUST be strong enough (and intended for this use) so as not to break under the load imposed. The use of scrap pieces of wood for this purpose is NOT permitted.

        CAUTION: Never walk or stand under a moving lineset. NEVER move a lineset when someone is walking or standing under it.
        NOTE: The rope lock is for lineset positioning only and is designed to hold only a 45 pound MAXIMUM imbalance. The rope lock is not to be used for speed control.

Emergency Procedures - A Runaway Lineset:

        If a lineset becomes too far out of balance and the load is in the air, either the batten or the counterweight arbor, become so heavy that the operating line cannot hold it - it will "run away." If the out-of-balance condition is not great and the lineset begins to creep, it MAY be possible to stop it by brute strength. However, if the lineset begins to move rapidly, which indicates a large out-of-balance condition, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO STOP IT ! !

In the event of a runaway, follow this procedure:

      1. Shout a warning to all persons on the stage.
      2. Take cover. The possibility of flying counterweights and objects falling from the grid is great.

      3. Runaways are always caused by human error and lack of concentration on the job that is being performed.

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Example of flyman - loader dialog during loading:

        After the lineset is secured.

      • FLYMAN: “Put 10 weights on line number five.”
      • LOADER: “10 weights going onto line number five.”
      • Loader installs 10 weights on line number five and secures hold down plate.
      • LOADER: “10 weights on line number five - complete.”

Examples of flyman - loader dialog during unloading:

      • EXAMPLE #1 - After lineset is secured:

      • FLYMAN: “Remove 10 weights from line number five.”
      • LOADER: “10 weights coming off line number five.”
      • Loader removes 10 weights from line number five and secures hold down plate.
      • LOADER: “10 weights off line number five - complete.”

      • EXAMPLE #2 - After lineset is secured:

      • FLYMAN: “Line number five to pipe weight.”
      • LOADER: “Line number five to pipe weight.”
      • Loader removes all weights, except pipe weight, from line number five and secures hold down plate.
      • LOADER: “Line number five at pipe weight.”
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