Theatre safety

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Working in theatres is a potentially dangerous task, as it involves electricity, heights, explosives and machinery that are very dangerous Actors work on the edge of open orchestra pits or fly across the stage on thin lines, while fire, smoke or explosions are used. Indeed, the theatre is internationally acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous working spaces in the world. This is part of the theatre technician's and management's daily life and responsibility.

In many countries safety procedures are adequately covered by specific health and safety regulations. However, in his groundbreaking studies of theatre safety in South Africa (199*, 200*), Jan Nel found that in South Africa the situation was vague yet complicated. Occupational safety in theatres was in fact not regulated by a body of specific regulations and laws, but rather confusingly by a whole range of clauses and sub-clauses in various existing laws and sets of regulations focussed on the various subsections of the industry. These include the following: the Factories, Machinery and Building Works Act (Act 22 of 1941), Machinery and Occupational safety Act (Act 6 of 1983), Workmen's Compensation Act (Act 30 of 1941), the Mines and Works Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Act (Act 3 of 1983), Standard Building Regulations (Act 33 of 1962), National Building Regulations and Building Standards (1977), The Application of the National Building Regulations SABS 0400-1987. (JN)

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