I would like to preface this article by stressing that I have great respect for the qualified professional LED providers in our industry across Canada and the United States. Their products and professionalism within this industry are, for the most part, exceptional. Unfortunately there are some glaring exceptions.
This post serves as a means of educating those within our industry, both providers and consumers, of the responsibility we all have to ensure budget alone does not influence proper safety considerations.
ColossoVision understands budgets will often dictate which providers a client can work with. However, at some point the risk versus reward aspect needs to be addressed. Don’t assume that the price you are quoted comes with the due diligence to ensure every necessary safety precaution has been considered and included; it is up to the client to understand what they are and more importantly what they are not getting for that price.
I recently visited a venue that was using one of our competitor’s screen and I will share with you what I found was passing for a proper screen installation.
If you click on the picture for reference, I will address the issues I have, in my opinion, with this provider’s total lack of compliance to our industry’s safety and installation standards.
This installation took place at a high-profile public venue in Canada. On the left-hand side of this picture there were both participants and spectators; I can assure you that this picture represents the final product from this screen provider.
The trailer is parked on snow and the weather conditions are fluctuating from cold to quite warm. This means drainage, ice and soft ground will all become factors at this installation. Yet the trailer is parked behind the screen with no apparent chalks between the tires to prevent it from moving.
The structure has what appears to be a 2000lb rated strap attached from the steel at the top corner to the top edge of the wheel / hub on the aforementioned trailer. This rig’s intent is to use the trailer as a counterweight, but trailers were designed to haul equipment and are not the constant or sustained load bearing devices required to properly counterweight a structure; especially on slippery ground with no chalks.
There is only one rig point holding the screen up; a single link chain. As a rule, ColossoVision and other safety-conscious companies will always use at least two rig points, with safeties added to each. The reason for this is not a tough one to understand. No safety steel means no backup in the event the primary chain snaps. In fact the entire screen is reliant, is literally hanging on one unsupported chain. I can think of so many things that could test or break the integrity of this chain, but I can’t see one thing this provider plans to do about it.
The wires that appear to be holding the screen structure from tilting back or forth are slack, which makes one wonder what purpose they serve. The ground pegs in the second picture are not even anchored into something solid, they were just loosely planted in the snow. I know because I walked out there with the venue manager to warn them. For the record, snow does not have the ability to hold down a structure that weighs several thousand pounds.
Sadly, we come across some organizers and suppliers that abide by the ‘nothing has ever happened before so why change bad habits now’ approach to safety. As someone that has played witness to what can go wrong at an event, this type of strategy makes me cringe. I would like to state the venue manager wasn’t even aware the screen was installed in this way. The booking was made by the event that rented the facility, directly with the supplier .
As a side note to event organizers , in talking with Occupational Health and Safety in Alberta (OHSA), it was confirmed that had they sent someone out to check this installation, the potential existed to shut down the installation of the screen and even the event if they deemed that the nature of the safety concerns put the public in any danger whatsoever.
Fortunately for ColossoVision clients, the risks have already been identified and accounted for in our quote. We are always happy to explain in detail what could go wrong and what we have done to ensure it doesn’t happen.
I have made some strong accusations here in an attempt to wake up some people who in my industry that have been operating on the edge in my opinion. I encourage any provider that takes a different approach in this industry to show me the error in my convictions. I will even post your email or correspondence.
As I did at the beginning of this article, I want to again commend my good friends at other companies who provide LED screens for their commitment to excellence. This is certainly not a commentary on the industry majority, as the majority of us adhere to above-acceptable standards when installing equipment.
It is my hope that this post will bring the education level of the clients and uneducated newcomers to the industry to a level where they can select and appreciate their service providers based on an understanding of the big picture.
Back in August of 2011 I posted an article that outlines proper safety guidelines for screen installations, it is still available should anyone be unclear of what I am referring to:
I hope this article sparks some discussion within our LED community; it is up to all of us to provide a service worthy of the self-praise we promote on our advertisements.
Sincerely, your friends at ColossoVision Canada.