May 2011

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May 2011


Seek OSHA Alliance

David Glowacki Health & Safety Commissioner

One project the Health & Safety Commission has worked on over the past year is establishing a formal relationship with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration through the OSHA Alliance Program. OSHA established this program to work with professional organizations, educational institutions, and trade and labor unions for mutual education and the development of compliance assistance tools.

USITT is a strong candidate for an Alliance because the Institute represents every facet of the industry - designers, technicians, stagehands, educators and managers.

Throughout the 2011 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina, Commission members were included in discussions about the recent mishaps at a rather high-profile Broadway show and began to recognize that there is widespread concern about how OSHA might respond to those specific incidents, and what repercussions there might be for the rest of the industry. OSHA will likely begin looking more closely at other operations and venues, wanting to see if the situations and exposures to hazards revealed through the investigation of Spiderman are unique to that production or are common throughout the industry.

Entering into an Alliance agreement with OSHA will be extremely beneficial because it opens the door on a national level for members to meet with OSHA representatives and educate them about the industry. For its part, OSHA will assist in the creation of educational materials for the Institute’s membership and to share with OSHA’s Consultation and Compliance Officers. The Institute can influence how the industry is perceived by OSHA.

During a conference call between leaders within the Institute and top administrators of the OSHA Alliance Program, OSHA representatives were enthusiastic about USITT’s interest in pursuing an Alliance, recognizing that it already meets most of the criteria required of participating organizations, and outlining the next steps USITT needs to take in order to finalize this agreement.

One step required input from the general membership to develop two lists: one identifying three or four general goals to pursue in cooperation with OSHA and the other identifying three or four specific specific issues or concerns that would benefit from the creation of training tools, documents, or other products. A meeting during the Charlotte Conference produced these lists:


  • To share with OSHA and educate them about the non-standard nature of much of the work done at heights and develop best-practices that meet compliance requirements while allowing for the freedom of movement required to support artistic expression.
  • To develop standardized definitions of industry terms and functions (language) and develop tools for sharing that language.
  • With OSHA assistance, to investigate and improve recognition of long-term hazards that USITT members are routinely exposed to.
  • To develop industry-specific standardized safety training and have that training recognized by OSHA.

Emphasis Areas:

  • Develop standardized hazard recognition and risk analysis documents/checklists.
  •  Develop standardized evaluative tools to measure skill competence in operating industry-specific equipment and systems.
  • Identify and develop industry-specific training modules that could be added to the standard OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour Outreach Training Courses.

Another conversation is scheduled with the OSHA Alliance Program leadership in early May to review these lists. If anyone would like to suggest items to be added to either list, they can contact David Glowacki at dglowack at Additional information about the OSHA Alliance Program can be found here.