This is the first in a series of articles about how to safely rig, fly, suspend, attach, or otherwise elevate loudspeakers and associated sound equipment above the level that gravity intends; i.e. the ground.
The information we’ll be presenting is equally applicable to professionals who are touring or working with rental systems - and to those who are engaged in permanent installations.
While the means, methods, and techniques may vary a bit from rental to permanent install work, the principals of safety remain largely the same.
“And you can fly…high as a kite if you want to” - The Moody Blues, 1968
Every day, thousands of audio professionals around the world make safety-related decisions that directly affect the lives of others.
Sometimes, there is little or no awareness of the chain of events that could lead to the loss of life, serious injury - or less dramatically - the loss of valuable property. The intense pressure to get the job done, often in a compressed timeframe, can easily override the basic need for safety.
And in many cases a professional audio engineer, or a professional system technician, might be completely unaware of how the aspect of safety is even related to the perceived main task; i.e., “getting the sound system operational as quickly as possible and making it sound as good as possible.” After all, isn’t that what we all signed up for?
I invite you to step back a bit and ask “Is that really the main task?” The only reasonable answer is, “No, it is not.” The main task is to first ensure that no human being is ever put in harm’s way.
Is it OK that those who attend a concert, participate in a business meeting, or watch their child graduate at a commencement ceremony should EVER be at risk of bodily injury because of the sound system? Of course not. There are no mitigating circumstances, no word play. The answer is a simple and profound “NO.”
However, If you don’t know about safety, how can you be responsible for doing your job safely? The answer to that is you will be responsible – in the eyes of the law.
But this is not about legalities, it’s about learning safe work practices. When you know how to perform (or direct) the work in a safe manner, you’ll be able to make responsible decisions that protect life, limb, and property. You’ll be able to sleep better at night. You’ll be able to take on challenging conditions in a professional manner, and you’ll know when to say “NO” to a dangerous situation.