Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Recording Industry hopes to establish itself as a leader in live event production safety after hosting an Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification workshop earlier this summer.
The inaugural OSHA 30 Conference for Live Entertainment Production was held June 11-17 and was conducted with encouragement from the Event Safety Alliance, or ESA, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting “life safety first” in all phases of live event production and execution.
The workshop is the brainchild of Frank Baird, an assistant professor in MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry and a 30-year veteran of the live entertainment industry. Baird said he realized the need for face-to-face OSHA training for live entertainment workers while attending the ESA’s annual Event Safety Summit at the Rock Lititz Campus in Lititz, Pennsylvania, last December.
On Jan. 1, the state of Nevada began requiring some people working in the entertainment industry in Nevada to complete OSHA training. More states may decide to follow suit and enact similar legislation. OSHA 30 is a federal, 30-hour, construction and general industry health and safety certification course.
“This was the first time a live event industry version of this OSHA course has been offered in the United States,” said Baird. “Attendees included live event industry leaders from the U.S. and the United Kingdom and live entertainment professionals from Nashville to Denver as well as our own MTSU faculty, staff and students.”
The workshop was led by Ernie Santiago and his wife, Kathleen, owners of ESH Training LLC from Waipahu, Hawaii, with support and assistance from Alan Hochfelsen, owner of Production Management of Aiea, Hawaii.
Ernie Santiago is an OSHA construction outreach trainer and OSHA safety officer with two decades of experience in the field. His wife is a retired Honolulu police officer with 30 years of service. Hochfelsen is an event production manager with 36 years of experience in the live entertainment field.
Santiago formed a partnership with Hochfelsen, a fellow Hawaiian resident and event producer, to learn the rigors of the live event industry and to reduce injuries and improve safety.
Dr. Donald Cooper, author of the ESA’s Event Safety Guide and executive director of the ESA, also attended the MTSU workshop.
“Throughout the week, Ernie and Kathleen provided OSHA 30 Construction certification in the context of live event production,” said Baird. “Over the weekend, Tim Roberts from the U.K.’s The Event Safety Shop (TESS) led professional-level sessions for event practitioners who may wish to add safety consulting to their portfolio of skills.”
Located in Bristol, England, TESS has served the sports, entertainment and event industries around the globe for nearly 20 years, dealing with some of the largest and most complex events to ensure the public and crew work safely.
Baird did not originally expect the workshop to grow into an international event, but he said he now hopes to create regular workshops so MTSU students and live event workers in the Nashville area can gain OSHA certification as well as a chance to discuss event safety with leaders from the ESA and overseas.
“Our students will graduate with the OSHA 30 certificate, which will automatically make them more hirable,” said Baird. “Our goal is to empower them with the latest safety information as they grow professionally in the field.”
For more information about why OSHA training is becoming more important to the live event industry, please visit http://eventsafetyalliance.org/analysis-of-nevada-osha-statute-ab-190.