Baird spearheads inaugural live-event OSHA training

Ernie OSHA

Ernie Santiago, owner of ESH Training LLC in Waipahu, Hawaii, lectures on event safety at the inaugural OSHA 30 Conference for Live Entertainment Production held at MTSU in June. The conference was the first of its kind held in the United States. (MTSU photo)

Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Recording Industry hosted the inaugural OSHA 30 workshop for live event production on June 11–17.

This training was conducted with encouragement from the Event Safety Alliance (ESA), an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting “life safety first” throughout all phases of live event production and execution.

The workshop was the brainchild of Frank Baird, assistant professor in the Department of Recording Industry and a 30-year veteran of the live-entertainment industry. Baird realized the need for face-to-face OSHA training for live-entertainment workers while attending the ESA’s annual Event Safety Summit held at the Rock Lititz Campus in Lititz, Pennsylvania, last December.

On Jan. 1, 2018, the state of Nevada began requiring some people working in the entertainment industry in Nevada to complete OSHA training, and more states may decide to follow suit and enact similar legislation. OSHA 30 is a federal, 30-hour construction and general industry health and safety certification course.

“This was the first time a live-event industry version of this OSHA course has been offered in the United States,” Baird said. “Attendees include live-event industry leaders from the U.S. and the United Kingdom, live-entertainment professionals from Nashville to Denver as well as our own MTSU faculty, staff and students.”

OSHA group.jpg

Attendees at the inaugural OSHA 30 Conference for Live Entertainment Production pose for a photo. Pictured are (left to right) OSHA 30 conference organizers Tim Roberts, director, The Event Safety Shop (TESS) in Bristol, United Kingdom; Dr. Donald Cooper, executive director, U.S. Event Safety Alliance; Ernie Santiago and Kathleen Santiago, owners of ESH Training LLC in Waipahu, Hawaii; Alan Hochfelsen, owner, Production Management in Aiea, Hawaii; Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment; and Frank Baird, assistant professor, Department of Recording Industry. (MTSU photo)

The workshop was led by Ernie Santiago and his wife, Kathleen, owners of ESH Training LLC from Waipahu, Hawaii, with support and assistance from Alan Hochfelsen, owner of Production Management of Aiea, Hawaii. Ernie is an OSHA construction outreach trainer and OSHA safety officer with two decades of experience in the field. Kathleen is a retired Honolulu police officer with 30 years of service and is now training alongside Ernie. Hochfelsen is an event production manager with 36 years of experience in the live-entertainment field. Dr. Donald Cooper, author of the ESA’s Event Safety Guide and executive director of the ESA, also attended.

“Throughout the week, Ernie and Kathleen provided OSHA 30 construction certification in the context of live-event production,” Baird said. “Over the weekend, Tim Roberts from the U.K.’s The Event Safety Shop (TESS) led professional-level sessions for event practitioners who may wish to add safety consulting to their portfolio of skills.”

Located in Bristol, England, TESS has served the needs of the sports, entertainment and event industries around the globe for nearly 20 years, dealing with some of the largest and most complex events to ensure the public and crew work safely.

Baird did not originally expect the workshop to grow into an international event, but he now hopes to create regular workshops whereby MTSU students and live-event workers in Nashville and the surrounding area can gain OSHA certification as well as having a chance to discuss show safety with global leaders from the ESA and overseas.

“Our students will graduate with the OSHA 30 certificate, which will automatically make them more hirable,” Baird explained. “Our goal is to empower them with the latest safety information as they grow professionally in the field.”

For more information about why OSHA training is becoming more important to the live-event industry, please click here.

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