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Does Broadway Lack Safety?

Last week, the 8 Legged Production of “Spider-Man Turn off the Dark” was fined for “exposing employees to the hazards of falls or being struck during flying routines because of improperly adjusted or unsecured safety harness,” the agency stated in a release. “Additionally, a fall hazard stemmed from unguarded open-sided floors that lacked fall protection. Finally, the company failed to shield employees from being struck by moving overhead rigging components.” OSHA fined the production company 3 serious violations totally $12,600.

The Broadway show is currently known as the most expensive and the most accident prone musical to date. The investigation by OSHA stemmed from 3 injuries sustained by the actors and 1 other separate incident, or in safety terms, a near miss. The injuries received were pretty serious but completely avoidable. The actor playing “Spider-Man” fell 20 feet to the ground because his safety harness wasn’t correctly attached. Can anyone say safety training???

My goal over the last few months has been to open the eyes of production companies and educate them on the lack of safety for their employees. It’s not necessarily the fault of the producers…they just don’t know any better. It’s not that difficult though either. If it doesn’t look safe, it probably isn’t!

OSHA was originally created “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards…”. Most employers and their employees in the nation come under OSHA’s jurisdiction but it’s unfortunate that regulations aren’t normally enforced until an accident happens. How about we start thinking about how to complete a job safely by recognizing the hazard and then having a plan in place to complete the job without incident? Sounds easy enough…

Training should be offered to employees, at no cost to them, in the safe use of equipment and work practices of their job. Most workers have been doing the same type of job for years without ever thinking of safety and whether there is an easier, safer way to accomplish their task. This is what the training should provide to them.

Once I start talking to companies about safety training, whether they are construction or media companies, their eyes tend to roll back in their head as they think about the time and cost of said training. The training doesn’t have to take a week. In some cases, training can consist of 30-60 minutes of information pertinent to that specific employee’s task. Doesn’t seem like much when you think about the time injured individuals can spend in the ER or a hospital bed. Plus, your employees will eventually see that you, as their employer, is looking out for their employees well being.

The employees in your company are your most important resource – without them, the work cannot be finished. Just like in the case of “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark” who just might be permanently turned off.

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