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Job Knowledge & Safety for Stage Hands

Some Basic Knowledge & Safety Guidelines for Local 98 Members and Extras

Always arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your call time. When you first arrive, immediately inform the Job Steward of your presence and ask if there is any paperwork (jobs such as other than HERCO/Theatre) you need to fill out to get paid. Ask who your department head is and report to them. If you arrive for a morning work call, assume that you will be there all day and never ask to leave early. If taking an "Out" call, assume that you won't leave until it is finished and it may take longer than you had expected. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions when you are unsure about a job assignment. If you don't know about something, ASK! Please inform us if you have a fear of heights or other problems so that we don't put you in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. Bring work gloves, leatherman or similar brand tool, hard hat for HERCO jobs and a Crescent wrench with you are on calls.  Steel-toed shoes are highly recommended. Change of clothes (blacks) is advisable. Whenever you work show calls on the deck you must be dressed in blacks.  Never assume you will be fed; bring a lunch with you or be prepared to buy lunch.  Once you are on the call and working: Safety first, last and always!!!!

Learn people's names and tell them yours.  Don’t alienate new people.  Pay close attention to instructions and ask questions if you are unsure about what to do. 

If you observe something dangerous about to happen, speak up immediately.  Safety is our primary concern.  If you see someone struggling with lifting something, help them. If you need help lifting something, Ask for help.  When you finish a task, report to your department head/rodie or steward and ask for another.  When unloading a truck at the ramp: PAY ATTENTION!

Listen to the Road crew or truck loaders.  They will give you information about a piece coming off a truck that may save your fingers or your life.  Grab the boxes at a safe place when they come down the ramp.  Avoid reaching near tight spaces, at box lids, or beneath pieces near the ramp.  Your fingers can get pinched very easily.  Pay attention to the safety of others working near you.  Keep your toes away from the bottom edges of pieces.  Avoid unnecessary conversation when unloading a truck, especially when you get to the front of the line or have your hands on a piece.  Always be on the lookout for open latches, sharp edges or splintered wood.  Gloves will help a lot with these dangers.  Make sure there is no one at the bottom of the ramp and you have enough room at the foot of the ramp before you unload a piece.  If the piece is heavy use the REAR wheels as a brake by dragging one of them against the side of the ramp as the piece comes down the ramp.  Don't drag the front wheels against the side of the ramp as this may cause the piece to flip over!  Always assume that pieces are top-heavy, have a strange center-of-gravity, or may shift unexpectedly. Bad wheels that freeze up are common.  When unloading long pieces watch that you don't hit anyone and that others are informed of your coming through.  If pieces are stacked, watch the rider pieces as you move down the ramp.  When a piece is stacked never place your fingers between the top and bottom pieces.  When pushing set carts, keep fingers outside the cart.  ALWAYS assume the load will shift because it probably will and you do not want your fingers or hands pinched.  Be careful of pieces when you reach the bottom of the ramp.  Avoid dragging pieces against the ground.  Some pieces may need to be lifted at this point.  Always remember that many of the things we handle are very expensive.  Treat them with the respect they deserve i.e. don't bang or drop them.  Follow the instructions of the road crew and/or truck loaders.  The truck loaders do not usually leave the truck with a piece.  Occasionally they have to for safety reasons.  Let them handle the ramp.  The road crew usually handles the load bars and straps unless they tell you otherwise.  Do not step into the truck unless requested to do so by the road crew and/or loaders. 

When loading a truck at the ramp:  Never push a piece up the ramp until the loaders ask for it.  Don't jam them up!  When pushing a piece up the ramp foot the bottom edge so that piece doesn't tip over on to the ramp.  Always push from the lowest point you can so that pieces don't tip over.  Don't push from the top of the piece, it will tip over.  Control the piece until it is in the loaders' control.  Steer the pieces so that they don't hit the sides of the ramp.  Never allow pieces to roll into the truck unattended.  Before pushing a piece, allow the previous pushers to come down the ramp.  Don't jump off the side of the ramp or the truck bed.  This is an accident waiting to happen.  Try to handle pieces from the back or sides.  Keep control of it.  Always help others push heavy pieces and request help if you need it.  Expect pieces to kick back and shift when you reach the top of the ramp, especially long pieces.  When you are finished pushing a piece, look to see if the next piece requires assistance.

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