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This Isn't the Wild West Anymore..

Not to overstate the obvious, but this business has changed since alot of us started out way back in the day. Back then, safety was more of an after thought, we knew we SHOULD do it and in some cases we DID do it, but in the old skool days we definitely were not as diligent as we should have been.

We were more worried about getting the show in, up, on and out than we were about our personal safety. A calculated risk some might call it, and 9 times out of 10 we came through it without any problems. We most certainly had luck on our side. It was that 1 time that it wasn’t that we lost out big time. I’m sure all of us remember being on gigs where we saw co workers get hurt, sometimes seriously, sometimes fatally. And looking back on it now, if Safety had been more of a concern back then, perhaps those accidents wouldn’t have happened. However, this isn’t the 70s, 80s or even 90s anymore, this is 2012 and we KNOW better. We are older, have more experience now and realize how lucky we are to have gotten to this point without being fatally injured.

Then PLEASE tell me HOW and WHY we just lost a 21 year old rigger yesterday that for whatever reason was NOT wearing a harness and was at least 50 feet in the air. By pointing this out, my intention is NOT to cause more pain to his Family, Loved Ones, Friends, or Crew mates-I can only imagine the pain and regret they are going through right now and my heart goes out to them. I have a son a little older than Jose Lucero, Jr was so this hits close to home.

Productions have gotten more dangerous, more intense, larger, complicated, time consuming and heavier than what we had then. In the early days, we thought that 4 genie towers, a back drop, some par cans, a few pieces of truss and some audio was a great production. Hearing protection, fall protection, safety harnesses, lifelines, lanyards, hard hats, personal protection equipment were not really considered back then, but things change as does technology and gear.

Now we have HUGE tours out there, multiple semis filled with state of the art lighting, audio, pyro, special effects, video, flying gear for the artists-even roller coaster drum seats for a drummer. These things we didn’t and couldn’t even fathom back in the day. As the quote goes however, “With great power, comes great responsibility” and we must respect that. We HAVE to change our mindset of thinking of safety as a nuisance or something to be dealt with just to keep someone higher up off our backs and realize that safety has GOT to come first and foremost NO MATTER WHAT. If it’s not safe, then don’t do it-period.

There is always a way to get the job done without injury or loss of life. It may not be the same way as we are used to, it may not be as easy or as fast as we would like, but we HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY not only to ourselves, but to our families, friends and loved ones, our coworkers and to the up and coming crews that we need to teach to do the things the right way and the SAFE WAY. I know Peer pressure is hard to fight at any age and when you are young its even more difficult. Certainly, when you see others cutting corners in safety then you might think its acceptable too. Its not though, not at ANY age. I think if you ask anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident, collapse or tragedy that they would agree. Its up to us to change things and the time to do that is NOW. This isn’t the Wild West anymore and its time to realize it… And Just “Good Enough” isn’t..

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Ace Baker

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