Fall Protection: Making Stages Safer
Did you know one of the leading causes of injury in theatres is from a fall, often by a crew member falling from the stage into an unprotected orchestra pit? That’s because proper fall protection for the edge of the stage comes with a unique challenge: the net needs to safely catch a person falling a short distance while remaining unnoticeable, even during a performance.
The Problem with Safety Nets and Fall Protection
The term “safety net” gets used widely in the netting industry, but it has a precise definition. This form of fall protection is also known as a Personal Safety Net (PSN). While highly effective in the right setting, PSNs are designed to catch people, equipment or debris falling from significant heights, like multi-story construction sites. This PSN application protects people from falls and helps avoid secondary accidents on the ground. However, the very design that makes PSNs so effective in areas like construction sites also makes them ineffective protection at the stage edge.
PSNs often come in nylon netting, which creates the stretchy fabric needed to gently slow impact from great heights. That extreme stretchiness also means they require as much as 20 feet of clearance underneath the net to absorb an impact safely. This makes PSNs especially dangerous for use at the stage edge, where you may only have 6-10 feet of clearance between the orchestra pit floor and the stage floor.
Wenger | J.R. Clancy solved this safety problem by partnering with InCord to address the need for safety nets in orchestra pits. As North America’s largest custom netting fabricator, InCord has been providing the best in custom netting products to customers worldwide since 1995.
Fall Prevention Barriers, Made Specifically for the Stage
Our safety nets are designed specifically for the stage and use low-stretch materials like polypropylene or polyester fibers. This creates a low-visibility fabric netting that safely stops falls within shorter distances than PSNs, while still providing a safe cushion to protect against injury. But it doesn’t stop there.
Now, you can also protect your cast and crew when the stage is dormant or during setup, rehearsals and breakdown with a fall protection barrier. This safety net installs vertically before the front edge of the stage, offering both a visual and physical barrier that prevents accidents. And it’s strong enough to stop runaway equipment carts, props and set pieces.
When was the last time you evaluated your safety practices to avoid a costly accident? Our trained technicians can handle any job and perform thorough inspections through our Train, Inspect & Maintain (TIM™) program to keep your theatre safe and compliant with the latest ANSI standards.