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Risk Assessment Training?

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Hi, this is a proper strange question...


I just recieved an email from my teacher saying that he has the 'go ahead' to use a pyrotechnic effect in a show we doing in a few weeks. He said that only people who are over 16 OR have had a risk assessment training course can operate them (implying that he wanted me to do it :P ). As I'm not 16 by the time the show will take place (I'm 16 in july instead of april ;) ), I was wondering whether there is an online course that anyone can take part in so that I can do the pyrotechnics. I searched it on Google, and there is online one that the Leeds council have put on, but presumably that qualification only applies to people in Leeds. Any suggestions? Cheers! :blink:

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I think you mis-understand, or maybe the person sending you the email is confusing the information.


The training course you do, will have to be a recognised training course in pyrotechnic operation, thus this can be mentioned in the risk assessment (that the operator has been trained in the correct and proper use of pyrotechnics in a show/school environment). Thus reducing the risk of damage or harm to anyone/anything.


Doing a risk assessment course is something completely different. This course would train you in the writing of risk assessments, analysing potential dangers and how to reduce the risk of harm or damage, but would not enable you to operate potentially dangerous pieces of technical equipment. (explosives)


As for pyrotechnics courses. You will not be able to do one online. You will have to do at least a day long course. ABBT do them, I imagine so do Stage electrics, and I think LeMaitre (who are pyro manufacturers) also do a pyrotechnics course.

Whether any of these courses would be recognised by the school, LEA, council, person doing the risk assessment for the show, remains to be seen.


Just because YOU assume your teacher wants you to do the course, doesn't meant they actually do. Perhaps (before you post on an internet forum questioning their motives), you should send them back an email asking firstly who would be doing the operation of the pyros, and secondly if they want you to do it, whether an industry training course would enable you to operate pyrotechnics, given your age at the time of the show. Perhaps your teacher has not realised that you will be under 16?


Although if (as your previous posts have suggested) you are in fact operating the lighting for the show, operating two things at once is not always a good thing. Normal practice for pyrotechnics operation is that the person operating has line of sight with the pyro. Any obstructions from the line of sight, means the pyro DOES NOT get fired. If you are at the back of the auditorium, and the pyro is 15 metres away on stage, can you really see everything that is going on around the blast zone? Or are you in fact looking at what the third mover on bar 1 is doing, as it is in pink and not green?


I suspect the age limitation is more for insurance purposes (or maybe even a get out clause for the teacher to stop you, a student, operating explosives). This is covered a lot in students working at height topics, where essentially it is down to the discretion of the school (and their insurance) as to what supervised risky activities they allow their students to take part in.


By all means do the research into pyro courses, and present your findings to your teacher, but you may be disappointed, especially as some of the courses will happen during school hours, and you only have a few weeks before the show.



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Thanks Neil,


I did email back to him that I would be under 16, but he only said about a risk assessment course. Anyway, what you said about having to concentrate on the 'blast zone' 110% makes sense, and I suppose doing lighting is enough for the moment.


Cheers! ;)

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When I was at school (while ago now) we were a little less strict on these things and pupils regularly fired small pyroflash units having had no training more than common sense, however I do believe the law does state 18 or over only.


I would suggest that you find a teacher that'd be willing to fire them. As far as running LX and Pyro in the same show goes, I've done this on various (very small) shows - and at any time the system is armed my concentration is on the pyro ... irrespective of whether or not a mover decides it's going to pick that moment to do something stupid ;) but, again, far better to have a dedicated pyro operator if possible.


I've found in some schools "pyro operator" often falls to the SM (or someone in a similar role), who's at the side of the stage, whilst this might be a better vantage point ensuring the area is cleared they're also constantly being distracted by other (young) cast in the wings - so in many cases the control position for lighting or sound may be preferable in a school environment.

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Slightly more worrying (to me) is why a teacher that seems to be overseeing the use of them thinks any 16 year old can fire them.. If there's no-one in the school who can be considered competent then simply they should not be used.


To the OP - at the risk of side-tracking this but in a meaningful direction - What effect are you trying to achieve ? Could it be done without pyro at all ?

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