Guardrail Systems in Theatre Catwalks
Many theatre catwalks, like we have at UWM, do not have a standard railing system (e.g., toeboard, midrail, standard rail); rather, many just have a top rail and perhaps a toeboard.
The new 2002 Wisconsin Enrolled Commercial Building Code, Chapter 10 (Means of Egress) addresses the issue. Section 1003.2.12 does offer exceptions to the standard rail system for theatre occupancies:
Exception: Guards are not required for the following locations: #5: At elevated walking surfaces appurtenant to stages and platforms for access to and utilization of special lighting or equipment.
Although the building code provides an exception, from a safety perspective, fall protection methods must still be utilized.
Students and workers must follow good work practices including:
- Ensuring the catwalk is structurally sound and capable of supporting its design loading.
- Inspecting the catwalk routinely including all welds and bracing members.
- Being aware of the hazards of catwalks, especially in the presence of corrosive materials.
- Observing catwalk conditions and reporting any defects immediately.
|This photo shows the correct method for adjusting a lamp where there's no midrail protection.|
|In this photo the worker could easily lose his balance and fall when reaching to adjust the lamp.|