New rules on the use of tallescopes in theatres were confirmed last month by the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT).
The ABTT's Tallescope Working Party which is made up of representatives from SOLT, the TMA, BECTU, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Aluminium Access Products (manufacturers of the Tallescope) and a number of other theatre industry organisations, has agreed new measures to improve safety when tallescopes are in use.
The ABTT is working on a revised code of practice which it says will be available no later than September 2011 (to coincide with the PLASA trade show) but the key changes are the requirement for strict adherence to Section 5 of the new code and the fitting of outriggers, base column extensions and non-lift castors to maximise the safe use of the equipment and the safety of the operator.
Commenting on the development, Martyn Jenkyns, BECTU's representative on the Theatre Safety Committee said:
"BECTU, along with other industry bodies associated with the Theatre Safety Committee, is delighted that after a long time and a huge amount of lobbying of the HSE that there is at last a resolution to the long running Tallescope debate
The full ABTT statement was published on 9 June 2011 makes clear that: "The ABTT will not regard a Tallescope as an acceptable piece of equipment for working at height without the modifications detailed [in the report]
The ABTT also reminds employers and employees that they must be able to justify use of the tallescope over safer methods of working at height and recommends familiarity with the hierarchy for selection of work equipment set out in the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
To view the report visit the British media and entertainment union (BECTU) website at http://www.bectu.org.uk/news/