Load testing and inspection of theatre and stage lifting equipment
Camstage offers load testing and inspections to ensure theatre lifting equipment works correctly and safely.
The company offers inspections and testing of all equipment able to raise or lower a load.
The goal is to make sure a cable won't snap, a pulley won't stop or a winch won't fail when someone is using the equipment or nearby, said Franco Camastra, Camstage director.
"If a winch makes it goes up or down, if there's moveable fixings, we inspect," he said.
The inspections can include:
- Chain hoists,
- Counterweight sets,
- Hemp sets,
- Lifting steel wire ropes,
- Round slings,
- Shackles, hanging rings and barrel fitting,
- Truss systems, and
- Winches - electrical, manual, drill-drive
Proof load tests often are needed to meet statutory requirements or regulations. Sometimes, an insurance company will require the tests. The goal is always the same: Safety first.
Proof load testing is designed to ensure that items of theatre lifting equipment perform the way the manufacturer designed. That means the best test is a full load, even though often standard use won't be that large.
"We have never had equipment fail its load test," said Camastra. "That's because we start by inspecting and servicing the equipment first. We look for cracks, bends, warps, loose fittings and fraying cables."
Camstage also likes to start by checking the last report to see what was found then. The inspection will end with another report for the company.
But before the report can happen, the inspection team hangs at least 250 kg of weights for 30 minutes. If there are cables, the crew looks to see if there is any movement. Then, the crew checks again for cracks, bends, warps and scratches. The weight might change, Camastra said. "We do 50 percent more then we need.)
It adapts the tests to the facility, whether it is a community theatre, cinema with a stage or a corporate site like a bank that makes frequent presentations. But the tests always meet the required standards. In the UK, the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, (LOLER) cover three main areas:
- Lifting operations are properly planned and managed.
- Lift equipment is used safely.
- A competent person inspects and tests the lift equipment regularly.
Camstage will make sure that its covers those three areas as it looks over the equipment and tests it.
When to do proof load testing?
In the UK, LOLER requires inspections every six months if the equipment lifts people and for lift accessories. All other lift equipment requires annual inspections.
Load testing also depends on what happens with equipment. A proof load test is required:
- on installation of any lifting equipment before the item is brought into service.
- following a repair to equipment.
- after equipment is altered.
- after a complete overhaul or refurbishment.
- following an incident.
- if the equipment has been out of use for a long time.
Best practices call for people to inspect equipment before using. Camstage can help train building staff to do that.
The UK regulations say it is important that the required inspections and testing are done by competent people. Camstage belongs to two organizations that help ensure that competency. They are PLASA and the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABBT)
PLASA is an international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event, entertainment and installation industries. The trade association serves as a resource for best practices.
ABBT is a charity and membership organization that serves as a resource for its members. The British group offers training, consulting and technical advice for the theatre industry. ABBT also oversees standards for stage machinery, lighting and sound equipment, acoustics, scenery and other technical aspects of live performances.
Contact Camstage today to schedule an inspection or test. Mondays through Fridays 9am - 5pm for more information.