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Putting Safety First In Live Sound

It can be a dangerous job and it's critical to take appropriate precautions

By Craig Leerman February 13, 2013

We don’t often think of concert and event production as being a dangerous profession, but far too many accidents and injuries – and sometimes even deaths – occur each year in our chosen profession.

Most of these accidents are caused by human error and can be avoided if we simply pay attention to what we’re doing and follow basic safety rules.  Here are a few things (and more) to keep in mind:

• Always wear eye protection when using tools or working in an area where others are using tools. We only get one set of eyes in our lifetime.

• Our ears are our livelihood, so hearing protection is a must.

• Wear gloves when loading in/out, and especially when working with ropes, aircraft cables, or chain.

• Remember to lift with your legs, not your back! And get help when moving heavy and/or bulky items.

• Wear closed-toe footwear at gigs. Even better, go with steel toe boots.

• Make sure electrical power is off before connecting or disconnecting power and/or feeder cables.

• For feeders, always connect ground wires first, then neutral wires, and finally, hot legs. Disconnect in reverse order (hot legs, neutral, ground).

• Protect power cords from damage and avoid creating trip hazards with cable covers or ramps, or by using a cable bridge and running cables overhead, out of harm’s way.

• When using a portable generator, make sure that a ground rod is in place and connected properly to the generator.

• Keep a first aid kit in your vehicles, and one at the event site. Now is a good time to check your kits and restock any supplies.

• Never block a fire exit with equipment or cases.

• Check fire extinguishers to make sure they’re in good operating condition. Repair, recharge or replace them as needed.

• Be sure all portable ladders are set up correctly and are stable before using.

• Wear a correctly sized harness when working off the ground or operating lifts. Now is a good time to check harnesses and lanyards to make sure they’re in good condition.

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About Craig

Craig Leerman
Craig Leerman

Senior Contributing Editor, ProSoundWeb & Live Sound International
Craig has worked in a wide range of roles in professional audio for more than 25 years in a dynamic career that encompasses touring, theater, live televised broadcast events and even concerts at the White House. Currently he owns and operates Tech Works, a regional production company that focuses on corporate events based in Las Vegas and Reno.


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