Fall Protection for Stadiums and Arenas: Horizontal and Vertical Lifeline Solutions

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Integrating Safety Into Large Spaces

Stadiums, theaters and sporting arenas are lively places filled with cheering fans, exciting games, and thrilling performances. However, behind the scenes, these large dynamic settings require unique mechanical systems and comprehensive safety protocols to ensure an enjoyable and trouble free experience without any hazards.

Keeping things running smoothing often requires an elite team of highly specialized technicians and innovative technologies. Whether it entails working on JumboTrons (large-screen display systems), adjusting lighting, or tending to unplanned maintenance, repair or performing regular inspection responsibilities, unaddressed fall hazards in large event venues can pose great risk to personnel and, in some cases, even the public.

Stadiums and arenas are big places. Large venue structures, parks, fields, and courts often occupy acres of land and interior spaces can have mind-blowing footprints with ceiling heights that range anywhere from 150-250 feet or higher. The overhead truss work and steel support structures in these environments are ideal locations for running the network of utilities (such as lighting, water, air, and electricity) required to provide service.

Since it is not uncommon for repair and maintenance tasks to be conducted at heights of more than 250 feet, facility operations and management will frequently require their crews to complete rope access and descent safety courses and have specialized climbing skills to be considered qualified for their position. The design basis for truly functional and safe environments will feature integrated safe access, stands, walkways, and platforms. However, this is not always the case. Even the most forward-thinking designs do not account for every need, along with this OSHA/ANSI guidelines change overtime, so it is common to need to add fall protection systems retroactively.

It is crucial to adhere to safety regulations, rules, and best practices to ensure a work environment free from potential hazards. When it comes to stadiums and arenas, which are large and multifunctional, ensuring comprehensive fall protection protocols can be particularly challenging. Without specialized safety systems and a clear safety mindset, work-at-height tasks can pose significant risks and hazards, including exposure to electricity, being struck by objects, getting caught in between or underneath things, and slips, trips, and falls.

Engineered Systems for Stadiums & Arenas

Safety measures are essential for employees, contractors and public safety. Safeguard Industries has provided decades of support to the entertainment industry and has supplied a range of fall protection systems and products including facade access & maintenance, and anchor solutions as well as passive fall protection such as guardrail and handrail to stadiums and areas of all kinds.

Our innovative engineered fall protection solutions can be found in various locations such as rooftops, rafters, public stands, walkways, ladders, and even hidden from sight, working behind the scenes. One instance where our engineering team was called upon to design and supply a concealed safety system was to provide active fall arrest protection for a high-flying stunt show.”

However, it’s our engineering practice and, in particular, our OSHA/ANSI vertical and horizontal lifeline systems that support the routine maintenance jobs of hard-working staff, that sets us apart. Let’s explore why vertical and horizontal lifelines are the most common form or fall protection found in stadiums and arenas.

Vertical Lifeline Solutions

Effective vertical lifeline system enable personal fall arrest protection up and down the height of a ladder run. They will eliminate the need to disconnect and find a new tie-off point along the path and not interfere with a worker maintaining three points of contact as they scale. Vertical lifelines that provide a safe way of disconnecting from the system once the worker reaches the top of the vertical path and systems with safety zones are ideal. These systems integrate simple components and lack a lot of moving parts typically consist of a secure, high tension stainless cable, trolley and require a full body harness. In some cases, especially short runs, they will be cantilevered over the user slightly and connect to rear-facing D-ring, rather than a front facing D-ring to provide unencumbered use.

Vertical lifelines find applications in various elevated areas of stadiums and arenas, including:

  • High Mast Light Poles
  • Interior Fixed Ladder with a Rooftop Access Hatch
  • Exterior Facade Fixed Ladder with a Rooftop Safety Zone
  • Grandstand and Seating Support Systems
  • Access to Elevated Catwalks and Suspended Platforms
  • HVAC & Electrical Equipment Platforms and Access Points

What to look for in a Vertical Lifeline System:

  • Continuous Safety: Vertical lifelines offer a constant safety connection for individuals working at heights.
  • Versatility: They can be applied in different stadium settings and adjusted based on specific needs.
  • Quick Response: In case of an emergency, vertical lifelines allow for rapid intervention and rescue.
  • Reduced Fall Distance: With immediate arrest upon a fall, vertical lifelines minimize potential swing fall injuries.
  • Compliance: They meet the safety standards of OSHA, ANSI, and CSA, not the least of which is having a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds, and be protected against being cut or abraded.

Horizontal Lifeline Solutions

Horizontal lifelines are designed to act as either active fall arrest or worker restraint protection. They are used when no other anchor points are available for personnel tie-off. Horizontal lifeline systems are cable-based systems that are attached to two or more anchor points. Systems can be suspended overhead or at foot or even waist level on an elevated work area, like a crane or rooftop. Horizontal lifelines comprise of user equipment such as a secure lanyard, harness, and require attaching hardware such as a traveler or trolley and pelican clip. The best designs will offer a continuous secure connection, allowing individuals to move safely along a horizontal plane to conduct work at height or near (between 15 and 6 feet) of unprotected edges.

Horizontal lifelines are applied in various areas of stadiums and arenas, including:

  • Rooftops
  • Cranes
  • Walkways and Catwalks
  • Suspended Maintenance Platforms
  • Overhead Lighting & Audio Rigging

What to look for in a Horizontal Lifeline System:

  • Freedom of Movement: flexibility for workers to move horizontally while remaining connected to the safety line through transitions and intermediates and quick/safe disconnect and reconnect transitions between separate systems if and when they are necessary.
  • Efficient Coverage: effective fall protection in the form of restraint or arrest or a combination of both restraint and arrest across expansive areas, enhancing safety for workers involved in maintenance and operations.
  • Quick Intervention: In the event of a fall a system with an allowance for swift intervention and rescue.
  • Adaptability: adjustable to fit various configurations, ensuring a safety solution tailored to your structure and work being performed.
  • Compliance: a system that is designed and installed under the supervision of a qualified person, and maintains a safety factor of at least two (capable of resisting twice as much load as it is designed for, in other words…100% margin of safety).

Connect with a Professional

Maximizing the utility of fall protection systems requires expert design and installation, along with proper training of anyone that uses the equipment. Bringing all fall protection requirements under a single source like Safeguard Industries means having one manager with total accountability to guide your project every step of the way and ensure a strong and stable safety culture through routine inspection and recertifications.

Additionally, when it comes to designing for stadiums and arenas, we take special effort to not sacrifice the look of your facility. We understand the importance of aesthetics being a major concern when designing fall protection systems to be used in public settings. We ensure that the solutions offered are concealed or visually non-offensive while complying with all applicable codes.

Schedule a review of your work at height or chat with our helpful team about your safety projects today! Contact with a fall protection specialist now.

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