Sellery Health + Safety Blog

August 2, 2012

Outdoor stages: safe or not?

Filed under: Safety Musings — jsellery @ 2:39 am

Health and safety is always personal for me, but never more so than  when I’m watching my own children perform.

I’m writing from lovely Winston-Salem, North Carolina where our 13-year-old son is performing at the International Juggling Association Festival and our 18-year-old our daughter is dancing in a show as part of her American Ballet Theatre summer intensive.

Thinking of my own family reminds me of how our larger live performance family was shaken by the Radiohead stage roof collapse in Downsview, Ontario this past June. Like many of you, I was profoundly grateful to hear none of my colleagues was involved – but heartbroken to know someone had died.

How can we respond to this tragedy as a community?

As outdoor events become bigger and more complex, safety practices must keep pace so artists can push creative boundaries without putting people at risk.

As part of my work as a volunteer with the Ministry of Labour Live Performance Health & Safety Advisory Committee, I’m involved with the Temporary Outdoor Performance Structures Working Group. Our goal is to create a guideline for organizations that design, construct, install, operate and maintain these structures at performance and event venues. I am pleased to see so many caring and experienced professionals have stepped up to help us.

If you have comments or suggestions on how to keep events safe, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me by email:

For more info, check out these resources:

Event Safety Alliance:!home/mainPage

“Requirements for Outdoor Event Structures” (Event Safety Alliance):

“ANSI E1.21 – 2006 Temporary Ground-Supported Overhead Structures UsedTo Cover Stage Areas and Support Equipment in the Production of Outdoor Entertainment Events”. CITT has purchased a copy of this standard so it can be viewed for free by members. It can also be purchased at the ESTA Foundation:

E1.2-2006 and ANSI E1.21-2006 was recently published in PLASA’s Protocol journal. It also includes a sample Operations Management Plan used by Oasis Stage Werks for the 2011 Utah State Fair.

The Event Safety Guide (Second Edition) (U.K.):

Advice for Managing Major Events Safely (Australia):

Performing Arts Safety Bulletin #12 – Safe Set Up and Use of Small Tents (Actsafe, B.C.)


1 Comment »

  1. This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!
    ! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Many thanks!

    Comment by Damaris — April 27, 2013 @ 4:08 am

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