Rescue Plan and Tallescope Usage
Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:18 PM
My situation is this: I've just moved into my first venue management position in a small education/community theatre and am working flat out on the safety of the building, kit and regulatory compliance. Currently, I am mulling over whether or not it is worth getting my pre-mod tallescope modded with extra outriggers etc to allow it for use for focusing lanterns above the stage.
The issue I have is that my understanding of the ABTT CoP and info from HSE deems it necessary that there be a rescue plan in place for retrieving someone from the basket. Now - I was wondering what rescue plans people are using in their venue? Although I am just at the beginning of this process, I would imagine that the changes to my fly grid to allow for rope access would be prohibitively expensive - meaning that with no viable rescue plan I would need to junk the 'scope and find something else.
So then, tallescope rescue plans, got any?
Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:22 PM
Firstly, you don't need to add outriggers and modify scopes if you are not going to use them for occupied movement. With or without the modifications, HSE still does not "approve" occupied movement.
Have you researched all other possible means of access to WaH and decided that the tallescope is optimal?
Rescue plans, dear me. ABTT have yet to come up with a rescue plan AFIK and the HSL sort of swerved the point when saying in their report;
HSL/HSE do not create specific guidance and leave it up to manufacturers and users so I assume they were hinting to the makers/users to sort something out. If I am right then AAP might be able to help though I have my own Kafkaesque idea of what might be acceptable in your situation where aerial rescue rigging points are out of the question. Scot628 might comment on this but the only method I can see off the top of my head is to have a tower scaff set up ready whenever the tallie is in use.
Told you it was Kafkaesque!
Posted 24 February 2012 - 05:35 PM
Is that right? Quoting the CoP: "Furthermore the ABTT cannot regard any Tallescope acceptable equipment for working at height in a theatre unless Section 5 of this Code is strictly followed [presumably including the modifications]. There are specific and additional requirements if a person is to be moved in a Tallescope."
My interpretation of this is the mods are necessary even if the tallescope is going to used statically, am I mistaken? Given that my venue is relatively small in size no occupied movement would not be the end of the world.
Great question and that is exactly the process I am undertaking that process at the moment. I do have a number of constraints as to what is possible in my venue. A sprung floor rules a Genie lift out, upgrading to moving lights is financially a dead end, and without ruling it out completely, aerial rescue points are (probably) too expensive given the additional work they would entail.
This leaves me realistically looking at a choice between Zarges and a scaff tower, presuming that the lack of a rescue plan rules out the Tallescope.
Told you it was Kafkaesque!
Too right man, that is exactly the image I had in my mind.
What I find weird is that if I decide against the Tallescope due to lack of a viable rescue plan and go with, say, Zarges - I will have exchanged one stable and safe route to WaH with no rescue plan for a less stable and less safe route where the rescue plan is... err... bounce off the floor?
Thanks for your input!
Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:14 PM
You only need the rescue plan because the Tallescope is an elevated work access platform which is where I have always seen the ABTT stance as a no-win situation. Ladders you fall off, simples.
You have to see the funny side of going down the Zarges route since the bouncing here is off a sprung floor!
FWIW I would rather use a good set of Zarges than a Tallescope any day, much easier to store as well. Good luck with it, Josh, let us know what you decide.
Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:54 AM
If I was talking someone through the management of risks and discussing rescue and evacuation planning I think I would start with the reasons why a rescue/evacuation might be needed - on that basis I'd split it into categories (I) problems in the building requiring a need to evacuate e.g fire, power cut etc (ii) problems with the tallescope eg damage, defect loss of integrity etc and (iii) problems with the person e.g illness or injury. For most of the possible scenarios in 1 and 2 the person at the top is going to be able to make his own way down quite easily so the rescue/evacuation plan, to my mind is about communicating the how and the when and making sure, for example that if there is a power cut or a fire that the poor chap isn't left abandoned and has, for example, a torch to see to get down safely if the power is off. So I would work through the likely (reasonably forseeable, to use the legalese) scenarios and make sure you think they are covered re a plan that takes in assessment, instruction, information supervision and training.
For (iii) you need to be practical, and initially plan to minimise the chances of someone becoming ill/injured at the at the top - proper selection of people and ppe would be a good starting point. For example, if someone is diabetic, check they have taken their insulin down below rather than watch them topple over up above, because they forgot or have a plan of supply in the event there is a blackout at the top. If someone is asthmatic - do they have their inhaler, a really bad cold and feeling breathless -should they maybe not be toiling up and down. Proper gloves, boots and tools should minimise the chance of an injury e.g cuts to hands, burns or broken toes by having something dropped on them. This further reduces the risks and all contributes to the planning, which is all that the work at height regs are looking for at the end of the day.
Then go through the types of injuries that could still occur..and what that means in practice. For most, it will be minor injuries where someone will still be more than able to get down under their own power, ( cut to a hand, laceration to the leg etc). If they can't..can someone go up and provide first aid to improve the situation so they can come down. Is there a need to rush them coming down at all..the rescue plan needs to be timely and easy, which is not the same thing as rushed and immediate. Plan for those sorts of incidents ..and what have you got left...the very unlikely event of someone actually being so incapacitated that they can't get down themselves, either because they have so injured themselves that climbing down is an impossibility or they have blacked out. Again..think timely and easy, not immediate and rushed. Can they be treated at the top to remove any imminent threat to health, and then bring them down at a later point in time..etc etc. Does it have to be NOW - if they have fainted, can they be treated at height by a first aider until they can come down themselves etc etc. Ultimately consider what working circumstances would require the over riding imperative to get someone off a tallescope immediately..and control those risks at source to make it as unlikely as reasonably practicable.
Manage the risks by doing what you are good at...professional planning. Lots you can do wthout thinking tower scaffolds cranes and small minature helicopters!
Don't take this as anything other than some pointers for discussion (and happy to be shot down)..you're the experts.
This post has been edited by Scot628: 25 February 2012 - 01:08 AM
Posted 25 February 2012 - 07:00 PM
Oh boy, you could tell from the first second that was only going to end badly.
I'd be interested to hear why you think that. I'm happy using both and whilst I'm not wedded to it by any means, I think on balance that I would prefer a Tallescope. My reasoning is two-fold:
1) I work with young people and it is my experience that it is easier to get them involved in working in the theatre with a Tallie as opposed to Zarges. The kids I've worked with have looked at a Zarges and thought "that looks ridiculous - no way I'm going up that". Whereas with a Tallescope if you explain that it is a flat platform with guard rails they seem to accept this and are more willing to give it a go. It goes without saying that I train and supervise these students properly before they get to do anything on either piece.
2) A Tallescope simply feels safer to me - I value being able to work on a flat plaform. This is a totally subjective opinion.
Indeed. Kaftaesque wasn't it?!
Scot628 - Thank you for that extensive and very interesting post. I think that I now need to go away and mull over that information and see what I come up with. Both you and Kerry have been incredibly helpful and I will let you know the eventual outcomes. Ta again.
Posted 25 February 2012 - 07:44 PM
Being a student, I just thought I would give my opinion: I have used both tallies and Zarges in the past (supervised of course) an prefer a Zarges anyday. I find them much quicker to use, and have no qualms at all about going up a set, even at full extension. Just my 2p
Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:51 PM
I make no contribution at this juncture to the "moving while occupied" question. Personally, I find focusing an entire rig from a zarges infinitely more tiring than using a tallescope, even when climbing down 'scope, moving the unoccupied 'scope and climbing back up. For one thing, there's no weightlifting involved when moving the scope to the next position. A 12 rung zarges is f****ng heavy, and an awkward lift unless folded up for each move. And a twelve rung zarges at full extension feels to me a lot less secure than a scope at 7m. But as others have noted,this is going to be a subjective impression, most likely deriving from what equipment the user has most experience with ...
Far from shooting you down, Scot628, I'd say your thoughts seem to reconcile quite well with the training I've had (admittedly not to NEBOSH level) and reading I've done which suggests that assessing the liklehood of an event is as important as assessing the consequences when working on a Risk Assessment.
just my 2p based on recent experience. (and the 30 preceding years I've been making my living in the wonderful world of entertainment).
PS: And how is it the ABTT's responsibility to come up with a rescue plan? How can they possibly come up with a version that will work in every venue using a scope? It is the responsibility of each user to identify the need for a rescue plan and to draw one up that is appropriate to the circumstances of their venue, taking advice from qualified consultants, experts or training organisations if necessary. This is a very different exercise from the one the ABTT has engaged in of drawing up a CoP in consultation with the manufacturers and the HSE .
This post has been edited by andy_s: 25 February 2012 - 09:15 PM
Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:58 PM
Props to you Charlie.
Its definately the case that I've come across capable and enthustic students and young people such as yourself before, however right now I am not so lucky in that regard and the type of abillity that you have is the exception as oppposed to the norm. Given that, I am minded to tailor my working practices to make best use of the resources I have at my disposal.
Returning to the original question, I would be genuinely interested as to how other people are currently addressing this issue, regardless of the size or capabilty of your venue.
Posted 25 February 2012 - 10:36 PM
Zarges? I worked up ladders for many years using three-point-contact for climbing and working with both hands from a secure position for short periods. Maybe it is because I know I don't need a rescue plan or maybe it is the flexing of tallies, or the wheels, I just know that I never liked them much. Personal choice.
Scot's post is most helpful but one stumbling block is that MI's state, or used to, that only one person at any time should attempt to climb the bloody things and they have a weight limit of 115 Kg/18 stone.
The crucial point for me is that thus far nobody, besides Andy, from BR theatre members has given any advice to Josh. Nobody has offered to mail him a copy of theirs and that I find worrying. Does anyone have a Tallescope in their venue and a rescue plan to go with it?
If yes and yes then please contact him. If yes and no then it may be time you thought about it. It cannot be ignored now which is why I called it a newly opened can of worms.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:38 AM
Whilst, as a non-tallescope user I won't contribute to the rescue plan, I will say - is there no way you can remove the need for the tallescope if you feel that height rescue is either impossible, difficult, dangerous, or prohibitively expensive?
I assume access is only for focussing, with changes of lanterns etc being done at stage level using some form of rigging? (Motors / counterweight / hemp / etc)? In this scenario, then yes a Zarges might well be suitable for focussing only. But even then, is it fool proof? You say rescue plan is basically "scrape guts up off the floor" - but what if they need rescuing but don't fall from the ladder? Then what? There still needs to be a rescue plan in place for that. Yes it's a PITA but there is a lot to consider. Before you go buying, selling or otherwise, I would strongly consider hiring a professional consultant to visit the venue and go through your options with you, so between you, you can implement the option which is the safest within your building specification and budget.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:53 AM
Time for a new piece of access equipment me thinks - I used to use something in the aircraft world that was hydraulically powered (by hand pump) that would comfortably carry 3 people, isn't that heavy and is very manoeuvrable. Let me do some digging and I'll report back with my findings.....
Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:20 AM
If the "weight limit" is 18st, then if someone else climbed the ladder then that is problematical in itself.
It may be that tallescopes were designed for access for single person usage yet nary a thought was given to getting a person down in the event of a problem. By problem this could be someone who has simply collapsed after climbing the ladder "n" times. HS are well aware of this issue and quote bio-metrical data in the "tallescope tipping" report.
Or someone who experiences an anxiety attack sort of thing and simply becomes immobile through fear or fright. I have seen this happen years ago at work, fortunately on the ground. The bloke was still standing and in no physical danger whatsoever but had gone stiff as a board. Every muscle was absolutely rigid and we had to gently edge him to a chair; it felt as though he was made of wood. He recovered after a few minutes, was driven home and had a few days off to recover.
Imagine that scenario up on a tiny platform, where the fear/fright thing won't go away because they are still up in the air.
(Speculation alert) It occurred to me whilst reading the bit about having a rescue plan that this expectation by the "authorities" might be the the thin edge of the wedge as a way to not overtly ban their use outright but to make it that much more difficult to meet the requirements of using one.
Using a "builders type" tower, say, to effect a rescue is open to all sorts of similar problems ref tipping. You might need two rescuers on the tower to rescue the third, as mentioned above.
The bod to be rescued might weigh 18st. At some point all three bodies are going to be very near the side of the tower and one is going to be outside the top safety rails so to speak.
Then you have to think of some way to get this, possibly 18st, possibly unconscious, bloke down from the tower itself.
Or imagine if the tallie has toppled against something and you can't get near the basket owing to the angles, position, etc.
And, it might be there are plans for the rescue operation but how many folk have planned a rescue and then done the practice?
This post has been edited by ramdram: 26 February 2012 - 11:26 AM
Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:23 PM
As Scot and Andy say 99.9% is about risk or "the likelihood of loss or damage occurring." My concern is not that the 0.1% scenario is totally eliminated, there is a hierarchy, it is that the management of the risk may not have been addressed since nobody has come forward and said "this is what we do".
To be specific I had Zarges for the flat stage and tower scaff for the flat auditorium floor. The Zarges RA was a normal ladder/stepladder one, the Rescue Plan (retrieval of body from tower element) said roughly " Tie corpse on tower, push tower to balcony, drag off corpse." Not precisely those words but I trust you get my drift.
The thing is not that one has to be perfect but that one does what a reasonable man finds reasonably practicable, helicopters and additional towers ain't reasonable. Worse still is simply ignoring it and hoping it goes away. Josh is to be commended for his desire to do the right thing and manage H&S in his workplace. A different thing entirely from 100% safe working which is an oxymoron. SOME risk will always exist, even in bed!!