Belfast based Production Services Ireland (PSI), a regular provider of rigging services and equipment for Ireland's leading entertainment shows, has launched a series of regular 2-day Rigging Awareness training courses.
This initiative is the brainchild of PSI's Sean Pagel, who also heads up the company's rigging team. It's something that PSI has wanted to do for some time ... but the recent move to larger premises with a large dedicated training room has really facilitated this on a practical level.
Apart from the demand for it, one advantage for PSI explains Pagel is that many venues are council run, and have a commitment to keep their staff updated with the latest good working practices, "Therefore it's really important that they have a concept of what rigging is all about - it's one of the starting points for any show".
Pagel qualifies that it's important for people to realise that these are 'awareness' courses, so no-one will come away from there qualified to be a rigger - but rather, it is a great opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding about a specialist area.
The courses are open to anyone - freelancers, venue staff, rental companies, Local Authority health & safety personnel, etc - with the aim of providing a grounded, basic understanding of what rigging entails, particularly in the air - for those on the ground and also to make people aware of good and bad rigging practices.
It's designed to accommodate attendees with mixed levels of experience and existing knowledge about rigging - from the complete novice to busy freelancers - and everything in between.
It's an all-action 2 days. The topics covered include regulations and standards - national and European - including LOLER, PUWER, working at height, health & safety at Work legislation, etc. They also learn about the different types of PPE available in the industry, and what should be worn, and when.
Once the basics have been covered, there's a quick introduction to the National Rigging Certificate and what it stands for.
Next is a run through of the types of equipment commonly used in rigging, its correct usage, different trussing and how that goes together.
In the afternoon, Trevor Hanna takes over to present The Motor Anatomy sessions, which examines the uses and workings of the electric chain hoist.
Throughout the 2 days, attendees - the places are currently limited to 8 as the optimum number to receive full attention in the available space - are given a series of practical exercises to work through. They can learn how to do bridles, baskets, how to hang trusses or how to move around at height wearing the correct PPE.
The first course was in March, followed by another in May, with the next scheduled for July - please check www.productionireland.com for full details.
Says Pagel, "The first 2 courses were a huge success and generated many intelligent and meaningful questions and much discussion" he says.
Recent PSI rigging shows have included the supply of riggers, trussing and motors to Sky Sports for their coverage of the European Light Welterweight boxing contest at Kings Hall, Belfast; providing riggers for concerts by Rihanna, Metallica and Pearl Jam at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, and lighting and all rigging for Paramore at the Kings Hall.
For Metallica, Pagel needed 20 riggers, 14 up and 6 down. He comments that there is now a good pool of experienced climbers in Ireland, and his team for this gig was a combination of freelancers and in-house staff.
For more press info on Production Services Ireland, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. Call PSI direct on +44 (0)2890 814858 or check www.productionireland.com