Everyone has a role to play in putting on a safe production. No matter your professional discipline, your actions can have a direct effect on the well-being of everyone on site. The best way to ensure the safety of your audience, your coworkers, and yourself is to obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a safe and responsible manner. Although general safety awareness classes have been widely available in the marketplace for some time, the live event industry has thus far had limited options when it comes to comprehensive, event-specific safety training.
The Event Safety Alliance (ESA) is working hard to change that.
Responding to the live event industry’s need for specialized safety education, the ESA played an active role in the development of two groundbreaking training programs designed to provide all levels of an organization with the knowledge they need to make their productions safer. These unique, yet complementary, programs were intended to help bridge the gap between government safety requirements and the unique physical and operating characteristics of the typical live production, and debuted in Fall 2014 at LDI.
The first of these programs is titled Event Safety Access Training (ESAT). This ESA-endorsed entry-level safety awareness training was developed and administered by Event Safety Operations, and targeted anyone involved in the execution of live events. Comprised of material taken from the Event Safety Guide, OSHA, NIMS-ICS, and others, ESAT intended to address government requirements for workplace safety training within a robust, event-specific framework. This baseline course is to ensure that those working on an event site have received the training necessary to raise their level of safety awareness and know the appropriate response when faced with a hazard. To accommodate the learners’ busy schedules, the ESAT program has been designed to be delivered on the show site, or the client’s headquarters, in a day.
The second program consisted of a multi-day, ESA-designed Event Safety Summit, a more intensive offering intended for those in event leadership roles, such as production managers, crew chiefs, and stage managers. The ESA delivered this first-of-its-kind training December 2-4, 2014 at the headquarters of Tait in Lititz, PA. A variety of respected industry leaders offered their insight on topics such as planning for severe weather events; creating a unified incident command and communication system; the elements of an event safety plan and procedure; Event Safety Access Training; legal issues and the standard of care; partnering with public safety officials; and working effectively with your insurer. The program also featured a variety of hands-on learning, product demonstrations, and social activities.
Helping to make the Event Safety Summit possible is a strategic alliance with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. A leader in the entertainment insurance space, Fireman’s Fund has insured movie shoots and other productions for over a hundred years. According to ESA executive director Jim Digby, the relationship has been a perfect fit. “There’s a real sharing of ideas between the ESA and Fireman’s Fund,” Digby says. “They were among the first to recognize and support the mission of the ESA and are lending resources and financial support to the project by allowing access to their incredible wealth of risk experience.”
Students walked away from both programs with a collection of tools and ideas that can be easily applied to their daily operations, helping to ensure they are immediately functioning with safety in mind. Upon successful completion of the course, students received a certificate of completion, and their names were entered into an ESA database, where evidence of their commitment to life safety will be accessible to insurance providers, vendors, and ESA Trade Association partners.
“In lending our support to these two programs, we’re attempting to do something that has never been done before in the live event space, at least in this country,” says Digby. “Building off of the tremendous success of the Event Safety Guide, we hope to establish the core competency safety training that will become the baseline safety requirement for everyone who leads or works on a show site.”
Continues Digby, “Since 2011, the industry has come to realize the importance of safety awareness and preparation. The ESA now hopes to help translate this awareness into action.”
Jacob Worek is a safety consultant, writer, and editor of the Event Safety Alliance website. A lifelong musician and unrepentant metal-head, he’s out to prove that safe doesn’t have to mean boring.