Cure Rigger’s Fall May Be Early Test Case

A rigger’s fatal fall may result in the first prosecution under new U.K. laws introduced to protect the safety of people working at height.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is already investigating the death of Neil "Nelly" Bates, who died as a result of a July 21 fall at Bray Studios in Windsor, Berkshire.

He is believed to have been one of a team working on the load-out following The Cure’s pre-tour production rehearsals.

"I can confirm the accident and that the HSE is already investigating, but I can’t comment further." Bray Studios GM Nathan Hendricks told Pollstar.

The 2005 Work At Height Regulations and the 2007 amendments impose a legal duty on anyone responsible for Work at Height to put in place suitable measures to prevent any worker being injured due to a fall.

They specifically say any permanent roof that requires people to access it should have a system of some kind to enable riggers to clip on.

Examples of this are the exposed roof beams at Manchester Evening News Arena and the new "latchway" system at London’s O2, where there are special horizontal steel cables at about shoulder height above each beam that the riggers attach to.

This is the first fatal fall in the entertainment sector since the so-called "WaH Regs" became law. In 2005-’06, falls from height accounted for 46 fatal work accidents in the UK and caused around 3,350 major injuries.

The HSE is likely to begin by investigating whatever safety system is fitted at Bray Studios and whether the workers had been instructed to ensure they made use of it.

Those likely to be interviewed include the band’s management or production company or whomever "caused" the work to be done, any rigging contractor that was appointed to carry out the work, anyone appointed as a crew boss or similar and then any self-employed contractors carrying out the work.

No further details of the Bray Studios accident were available at time of going to press.