Certified Rigging

Riggers have dangerous jobs and are also responsible for making sure their handiwork is safe, but the job is not standardized. As Bandit Lites CEO Michael Strickland told Pollstar, a rigger can be any person who claims to be one – which is a reason why his company does its own training.

However, a program developed primarily by the Entertainment Services and Technology Association has certified about 100 riggers in the past year.

ESTA developed its current program after conducting a feasibility study asking employers if they would encourage their workers to be certified in rigging and electricity, according to certification director Katie Geraghty.

“There were accidents happening and I think the industry felt that if it didn’t come together and start making some changes, the government would,” Geraghty told Pollstar. “If [companies] were going to be regulated, they wanted to be regulated by themselves.”

Live Nation, PRG, Martin and the International Association of Assembly Managers are some of the major sponsors for the Entertainment Technician Certification Program. The first rigging exam took place in 2005 and the entertainment electrician exam is expected to launch in October.

The ETCP has two certs – arena and theatre. There is no field test; after consulting with test development firms, ESTA created a three-hour, 150-question computer-based examination, Geraghty said. The test can be taken at more than 150 AMP Assessment Centers across the U.S., many of which are located inside H&R Block offices.

The examination for the Arena Entertainment Rigger includes algebra, geometry, trigonometry, determining an object’s weight, fleet angle and voltage, phasing and electrical connection verification.

The theatre rigger examination is similar but includes specific questions such as “A designer has specified a 3,600-pound video wall hanging from two points over the heads of the audience. Which of the following calculations shows the best eyebolt selection?”

Content providers include IAAM’s Dr. Don Hancock and Robyn Williams, and Live Nation’s Steven Ehrenberg and Curt Voss.

– Joe Reinartz