New Safety Grid

Fifteen months in the job, and already the Fairfield Halls new Technical Coordinator Ian Locke is beginning to make his presence felt; not least in the realms of safety. “Before I took the appointment I could already see this was a very, very busy venue; sometimes three performances a day, so I knew safe working practises would be paramount.”

Consequently there has been, in his own words “huge changes”, not least the installation this August of a new rigging grid above the famous Fairfield stage.

“The existing grid was well past its sell-by date, so in September of 2001 I visited PLASA to see what was available. At the time I didn’t even know T2 existed (hardly surprising as it was barely a year since launch) so when I stopped by the Total Fabrications stand I was more than impressed with the T2 system.”

Being a prudent shopper Locke looked around all the exhibitors, “but I couldn’t see anything that was actually designed to be climbed on. The grid height at Fairfield trims at 10 metres, and there’s a consistent need to access lighting and other equipment up there. With a health and safety regime in place, I knew with the T2 system that, when I sent people up there, they would be operating safely and comfortably. T2 represents a safe system of work.”

Locke has invested heavily in the T2 system, 44 metres of trussing in a variety of lengths for maximum grid configurability. He also purchased a quantity of accessories that are integral to the T2 safety ethos; “We’ve got pick-up and hanging points – especially useful for visiting pop groups who often want to rig a mid truss – or any production that wants to hang old style trusses beneath the grid. I also have T2 half clamp couplers for fixing six lamp bars; and T Clamps for luminaires. These are a particularly versatile clamp, we currently use them to attach our existing tab-track and masking drapes to the grid.”

“The grid has been in use every day since installation, Ballet, the BBC, a Russian Circus, frankly my biggest problem is finding the time to get my crew trained.” Total Fabrications’s Chris Higgs has trained four Users, two Supervisors who have completed Rescue training; And Locke and his deputy attended Operator/Installer training prior to installation.
Currently Locke has a one-day slot in January as his next available training window. “Ideally I’d like my whole team of five permanent staff trained in every aspect”, and one suspects that Locke, having already demonstrated his wish to embrace the future of trussing, is just the man to make sure that happens.

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