Since 2017 it has been a requirement for all onsite workers and supervisors in live event production in Nevada to have completed, according to their roles, the OSHA 10 or 30 hour training in health and safety for general industry. Necessarily, Rhino saw to it to have several team members authorized as OSHA trainers and has since put thousands of other team members through the 10 and 30 hour training. Last year a similar requirement applying to publicly owned live event production sites went into effect in California. Chances are more than likely that other states will follow suit.

In response to this apparent trend, Rhino has in the last year increased its number of OSHA trainers to six and the activity of all trainers has been ramped up. Recently, we caught up with all six to get their responses to a few questions about the 10 hour training for non-supervisory team members and their own experience as trainers. Here are their responses.

What do you think is the value for the trainee of the OSHA 10 hour training you do for Rhino?

Boone Jackson, Director of Operations, Rhino Nevada: Some states require the training, but its value extends beyond just meeting the requirement.  The training equips employees with valuable knowledge about hazards of which they may not be aware and how to avoid them.  This new awareness helps them recognize why working safely is to their benefit and advantage.

Lance Cangey, Safety and Training Manager, Rhino Nevada: I feel everyone taking OSHA will have safety on their mind while in the workplace. It will also help them recognize potential hazards that they may encounter and know what to do in those cases.

Smokie Thigpen, Recruiting Coordinator, Rhino Georgia: I point out, at the beginning of my classes, that the purpose of the OSHA 10 training is to teach them to recognize hazards that they may not have noticed or situations that they might not have thought of as being a hazard.

James Acuna, Regional Director of Operations, Rhino Colorado: I really try to express to the attendees that the main purpose of the OSHA 10 (and 30) is identifying hazards that present themselves in the workplace. The follow up to identifying those hazards is, then, how to remove or mitigate those hazards with various techniques, the last of which is the use of PPE.

J Blain, Safety Coordinator/Production Manager, Rhino Colorado: Although it’s unlikely to completely eliminate workplace injuries in our constantly evolving and inherently dangerous industry, allowing our friends and coworkers to get hurt in predictable and avoidable ways is completely unacceptable. The OSHA 10 course helps our employees to identify common and uncommon hazards, and teaches them how to best mitigate them.

James McCarthy, Director of Communications, Rhino Staging: I think the value of the training lies in its ability to develop greater safety awareness, such that despite one’s lack of knowledge of any particular standard, and there are a lot of them, one is better equipped to make judgements about job hazards.

The training is broad in its scope. What do you do to make it relevant to Rhino employees?

BJ: We incorporate examples in the training of how the subjects we cover relate to their everyday tasks.

LC: While I teach, I try to make it relative by inserting stories of real happenings in our industry that I have either experienced or have been told by people in our industry as well.

ST: To make the training relevant, I go online and look for pics of “fails” pertaining to each subject. Some are in the entertainment industry, but there are accidents or near misses that are common occurrences.

JA: The various breakdowns of topics are to guide the attendees to focus on hazards that may be present in regards to those topics or tasks, as I find it a bit overwhelming for many employees to think about hazards without some type of compartmentalization, ie, hazards on a loading dock, around forklifts, electrical, falls, etc.

JB: Our industry exposes us to all sorts of different environments and scopes of work. For this reason, I never find it difficult to tell my own stories from the field or find ones from the trainees that can relate each section of the class to the job.

JM: I draw on my previous experience as a stagehand to offer examples of situations that I encountered on the job to try to give the trainees a sense of what they, too, may encounter.

How do the trainees seem to receive the training?

BJ: Some react with curiosity as their eyes have been opened to common activities they hadn’t realized have hazards if done incorrectly as well as understanding the reasoning behind why procedures are done a specific way and the PPE that is employed to address hazards.

LC: For the most part I feel the employees are interested in learning more about the industry they are about to begin. There are always a few that it seems are bothered by the process, but I hope they still get something out of it for themselves.

ST: So far, all my trainees seem very happy with the course and find it very informative. My classes have been small and that allows a more informal, back and forth during class time. It makes it more interactive.

JB: Most of the trainees I have interacted with seem to really enjoy discovering the specifics of what makes a jobsite acceptable or not. Learning how the most common injuries are occurring and which types of work are the most dangerous always seems to fascinate the trainees, especially those who have been working in events the longest. Having the knowledge of what can go wrong when cutting corners or doing things incorrectly enables our employees to stop bad situations from getting worse and can ultimately prevent a serious injury or tragedy.

JM: It varies, of course, but many seem to engage very actively with the material based on the sensible intuition that it may save their lives and limbs.

Do you have a favorite section of those you teach and why?

BJ: I enjoy the Hazard Communication training as many employees aren’t aware how to access information on the safe use of chemicals and understanding safety data sheets.

LC: My favorite portion to teach is PPE. I feel it is very important information, not only to let them know what is expected in the field, but help them understand how and why it can save their life. I know it saved mine on a climbing gig for Taylor Swift.

ST: My favorite section is Fall Pro, IT answers questions about seemingly contradictions in our work standards, such as no guard rails on the front of the stage, 6′ as opposed to 4′ in requiring fall pro actions, why some climb the ringers on scaffolding, but I insist they use the stairs, ramp or ladder.

JB: I enjoy the PPE section the most. Discussing in detail the hierarchy of controls is always a really good conversation and gets people thinking about the best ways to deal with a problem. At the end of the class, I really want our trainees to be able to critically think through problem solving methods. Being able to only identify the dangers of the jobsite is not nearly as useful as knowing how to fix the issues and getting the work finished safely.

JM: I think it is materials handling. Like pretty much every stagehand, I did my share of box pushing, gear lifting, and truck loading. Those things, I think, are likely to be what the 10 hour trainees, often newer and less experienced, will find themselves doing a lot of, at least initially. Those activities have a lot of associated hazards and so you get a lot of bang for your buck with heightened awareness of them. I think for those reasons I really enjoy trying to bring that subject alive.

Any final thoughts?

BJ: A lot of the relatability to the employees stems from the experience of the instructor.  The instructor recounting actual experiences concerning the subject makes the subject matter feel more real because they are hearing it from someone it happened to.

LC: I tell everyone I can how dangerous our job is and having the tools to understand the hazards of our job will arm them against possible injuries.

ST: I am really enjoying teaching these classes!

JM: I’m beyond glad that we are being proactive on this. There’s just so much good that can come of it.