Much of what we do in art brings us in contact with hazardous equipment and materials that require proper safety procedures. This safety guide provides basic information on the primary hazards associated with different artistic mediums along with the safe use of tools and equipment.
View, Download, and Print the Theater, Art, Graphic and Animation Design Safety Manual (pdf)
The Theatre Specific Safety Rules were established to assist University faculty, staff, students, and non-University personnel in developing safe productions that will not endanger the cast, crew, vendors, attendees, or the audience of performances and special events.
Each person involved with the event should be familiar with the potential hazards and associated corrective actions.
The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) staff is available to review safety procedures for any event and provide recommendations to reduce the risk of injury or illnesses.
Weapon props, including knives, guns, and swords, used outside of an established theater must be approved by LUPD. Call 395-2091 and ask to speak to a Lieutenant.
Consult the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at the earliest phase of production for the following concerns:
Many students have never worked with electricity directly before working on stage.
Training is essential in working with lighting circuitry, dimmers and instruments.
A Professor will oversee the initial training of students on:
Senior students will conduct refresher training for each show.
Cords, Cables, and Equipment that malfunctions or causes shocks must be immediately removed from service and set aside for repair.
Repairs must be conducted by a Virginia Licensed Electrician:
Students are only allowed to conduct electrical repairs under the direct supervision of a Virginia Licensed Electrician
To prevent tripping and wear exposed electrical cords or wire on the floor must be:
Strain relief must be installed on equipment plugs.
Inspect for frayed or split cords, cables, or plugs before use.
Electrical power extension cords are for temporary use only.
For the purposes of theater shows, temporary is agreed to be from load-in to load-out. Otherwise, this typically means day-of-use only.
Make sure extension cords have an adequate current capacity for the equipment being used. The wire must be a minimum of 14 gauge.
Never use more than one extension cord in series.
Always use a ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, in high-risk areas such as wet locations or outdoor sites.
Only trained and University-authorized personnel are permitted to work with lighting equipment, circuitry, dimmers, and controls.
Lasers or strobe lighting require a posted notice at the entrances and in the program.
Never use ordinary paper, cellophane, or other combustible materials to cover light bulbs or lighting fixtures.
Ensure that lighting equipment is secured and separated from combustible screens or scenery.
Do not obstruct exits or egress paths.
Lighting dimmers have limits to the lamp loads they can handle. The total wattage of the bulbs used may not exceed the rating of the dimmer they are plugged into.
Keep beverages away from electrical equipment.
Flammable Liquids must be stored in flammable storage cans or containers and be disposed of properly via the EH&S Chemical Waste Disposal Program.
Spray painting is to be done outside or in a spray booth.
Ensure that hazardous materials are properly labeled and disposed of via the EH&S Chemical Waste Disposal Program.
Follow the University recycling and waste disposal policies and procedures from Facilities Management.
Keep workspaces clear and clean.
Surplus excess/old equipment and materials via Material Management.
All persons operating power equipment must be trained in the safe operation of that equipment and the potential hazards involved:
Students must be authorized by a Professor to use each piece of power equipment.
Before use, inspect each tool for:
Discontinue the operation of defective or unsafe equipment as soon as the defect becomes known.
Damaged equipment should be handed to the person in charge to be marked ‘out of service’ and sent for repair.
Required PPE such as safety glasses and hearing protection.
Commercial products must be in good working condition and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The use of “makeshift” extensions to a standard scaffold, ladder, or work platform is not permitted.
Do not build or construct scaffolds, ladders, or work platforms “from scratch” without the approval of EH&S.
Scenery beyond standard set construction requires EH&S approval.
The means of egress is the continuous and unobstructed path of travel from any point in a place of assembly to an exit or public way (e.g., sidewalk, street, etc.).
There must always be a minimum of two working exits.
All parts of the means of egress must be available for immediate, emergency use.
The Technical Director must inspect:
Aisles and corridors must be unobstructed and kept free of flammable or combustible materials.
The egress pathway cannot be used for any other purpose other than a means of egress.
Spaces within a stairway enclosure are not to be used for storage of any materials.
The width of a means of egress cannot:
Exit doors must be unlocked.
Ensure that the exit discharge is unobstructed (e.g., not blocked by dumpsters or vehicles, no materials stored against the exit door, all snow removed, etc.).
All exit signs must be clearly illuminated and unobstructed (on same level) at all times.
Catwalk exit signs may be obstructed from a lower-level view.
Draperies or similar decorative hangings cannot obstruct the view or access to an exit.
Audience seating 36 Aisle width (fire code and ADA agree)
Procedure for making an exit out of use:
When the planned occupancy is below the posted occupancy limit, it is possible to take an exit out of use.
Events expecting an attendance of 1000 or more persons must follow the EH&S Crowd Manager program.
One crowd manager is required for every 250 people.
Catwalks are designed with fall protection in the form of guardrails. Guardrails may not be removed, climbed or defeated in any way without additional fall protection practices in place.
A minimum of 44-inch aisle width is required at all times unless the catwalk is narrower.
Electrical wiring, cables, & cords (including low voltage) must be elevated off of the catwalk floor and may not cross the pathway.
A fall protection harness connected to a proper anchor point is required any time your shoulder passes the plane of the guardrail.
During rigging, lighting setup, or other work at height, persons on the lower (stage) level must wear hard hats or otherwise be protected from falling objects.
Before use, make sure that the filters and collection bags have sufficient capacity.
If there is a port, connect the exhaust hose to the tool.