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Elevated Camera Platform Safety Policy 2013

Date: September 17, 2013


I. PURPOSE

To set forth a policy on the safe operation of elevated work platforms while recording collegiate football practices and games in the Huskie Stadium. In addition, this policy will address the safe operation of aerial lifts at away games for football.

II. POLICY

Application

This policy applies to authorized persons assigned to perform recording duties of collegiate football games and practices inside Huskie Stadium. Authorized persons include NIU Intercollegiate Athletic (IA) and Media Services staff assigned to these recording duties. This policy will provide recommended guidance and suggested procedures for visiting workers including network camera crews as well as camera crews from other colleges and universities.

Because of the installation of robotic cameras in each end zone in Huskie Stadium and in four locations in the Chessick Performance Center (CPC), aerial lifts (scissor or bucket) will no longer be used to record football games or practices in either facility.

Designated recording locations inside Huskie Stadium include:

  • New south end zone camera platform.
  • Crows’ nests at both 30 yard lines.
  • Yordon Center balcony.
  • West stadium roof under the canopy between the 45-yard lines.
    • Broadcasters may set up cameras outside the 45 yard line canopy provided they stay within the railings and their tripod legs stay on the tiles and not on the actual roof. These cameras must be secured to the steel infrastructure upon set up.
    • The west stadium roof is outfitted with a guardrail system that wraps around the perimeter of the roof to provide fall protection for broadcasters operating beyond the 45-yard line. However, broadcast operators may elect to don additional fall protection gear depending upon weather conditions.
  • Six foot scaffolds adjacent to either end zone (during games).
  • Mobile camera scaffold along sidelines (during games).

Definitions

“Qualified trainer” – a full-time NIU employee who has successfully completed the “Train the Trainer” aerial lift instruction course in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), equipment manufacturer specifications, and other applicable industry standards and guidelines. Qualified trainers will undergo annual recertification training.

"Competent person" means one who is determined to be capable of identifying existing and reasonably predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which may be unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous (including inclement weather conditions, such as where there is snow on any elevated work platform or where there is lightning in the area), and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. For purposes of this policy the competent persons are:

  • Media Services’ Football Video Coordinators (2)
  • Media Services’ Football Taping Student Crew Chief (student/extra help)
  • Intercollegiate Athletics’ Director of Football Operations
  • Intercollegiate Athletics’ Football Video Coordinator
  • Intercollegiate Athletics’ Head Trainer for Football

For purposes of this policy, competent persons shall use a variety of tools to evaluate and determine whether or not hazardous weather conditions are imminent. Such tools may include, but are not limited to:

  • Portable wind anemometers
  • Cell phones and computers outfitted with access to real-time weather information
  • Beaufort Scale for assessing wind speeds (appendix 2)
  • Two NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) All Hazards Radios, one in IA training room, one in IA video control room.

"Authorized person" means a person approved and assigned by the employer to perform a specific type of duty or duties or to be at a specific location or locations at the job site. For purposes of this policy an authorized person is a camera operator who has been trained in the safe operation of elevated camera platforms and fall protection gear by a qualified trainer.

“Elevated camera platforms” are platforms listed in the Application Section designated for recording use but will no longer include areal lifts at the Huskie Stadium or the CPC. For away games, “Elevated camera platforms” may include areal lifts. See Appendix 1.

Responsibilities

NIU Video Camera Operators:

  1. Each operator has a shared responsibility for his or her own safety. Individual operators always have the right to refuse to work in conditions that they do not feel are safe. That operator will convey their concerns to a competent person on-site. Once notified, the competent person will further evaluate the potential existence for a hazardous condition. If such a condition exists, the competent person will instruct other operators to cease operations immediately until the hazard is mitigated. In general, there will be no negative consequences to an operator refusing to work in conditions that they feel are unsafe. However, such operators may then be asked to work on other responsibilities that fall within their job description, and repeated refusals to operate lifts may lead to a change in job responsibilities to include duties other than lift operation and/or implementation of a review committee to evaluate conditions and the ability of the employee to perform the work assigned.
  2. Prior to use and during use, every operator must visually inspect the camera platform and report any maintenance issues to the competent person.
  3. Operators shall immediately descend elevated camera platforms if the competent person determines the operator may be exposed to a hazardous condition.
  4. Each operator must be trained in the operation of the hand anemometer. The operator will don the anemometer and a two-way radio while positioned on the elevated camera platform. However, donning such equipment shall not impede the operator’s safe access to and from the elevated camera platform. Two-way communications with the competent person shall be maintained at all times.

Intercollegiate Athletics – Football: Assistant Director of Football Operations-Video:

  1. Intercollegiate Athletics is responsible for ensuring that visiting teams and network camera crews are informed about the hazards associated with recording from elevated camera platforms in Huskie Stadium.
  2. If a visiting operator(s) shows up without fall protection gear, NIU may provide safety equipment for visiting teams and network camera crews provided the equipment has been inspected in accordance with internal standard operating guidelines and manufacturer specifications by a trained competent person and the operators can provide documentation that they are trained in its proper use.
  3. Intercollegiate Athletics will coordinate with other universities to ensure that elevated camera platforms at off-site stadiums have been properly inspected and maintained for use by NIU authorized personnel.
  4. Provide visiting schools and networks with a copy of this safety policy.

Media Services:

  1. Ensure authorized employees (e.g. student, extra-help, and full-time) are trained in the safe operation of all elevated camera platforms.
  2. Ensure authorized employees (e.g. student, extra-help, and full-time) are trained in the safe operation of fall protection gear.
  3. The Director of Media Services will hold a coordination meeting with all authorized and competent persons involved in weather conditions in the fall and spring before practice sessions begin. The university meteorologist will also be included in this meeting.
  4. Provide fall protection gear (e.g. full-body harnesses, lanyards, anchor straps, etc.) in applicable sizes for use at home and away games.
  5. Provide and maintain portable anemometers.
  6. Periodically inspect the operator’s use of the elevated camera platforms in accordance with this policy.
  7. Provide trained operators with a wallet-sized, laminated copy of their training certificate to be kept on them at all times while operating on any elevated camera platform.

Environmental Health and Safety Department:

  1. Ensure that timely forecasts and current weather conditions are available at all times at weather.niu.edu or weather.noaa.gov/chicago, barring technical failure or factors that are beyond the university’s control.
  2. Provide guidance on weather safety equipment and train authorized and competent personnel on their use.
  3. Assist Media Services to coordinate training on the use of aerial lifts, and fall protection equipment for authorized and competent personnel.
  4. Assist Media Services in the periodic review of this policy to reflect changes in applicable safety and health regulations and industry best practices.
  5. Provide guidance and consultation to policy users on the contents herein.

Safe Operation of Elevated Camera Platforms

  1. Authorized persons recording from the elevated camera platforms will have a portable anemometer with them and a working two-way radio.
  2. The wind speeds can be monitored from the elevated camera platforms with the portable anemometers. The wind speeds can also be monitored at ground level by the competent person using a cell phone with the WeatherBug application installed and set to zip code 60115. This data comes from the NIU meteorologist’s weather station. This data is also available by visiting weather.niu.edu. The competent person can relay real-time weather data to the operators as needed.
  3. The competent person on-site at the stadium must monitor the weather information periodically during collegiate football practices and games. The competent person can be any one or a combination of the Media Services’ Football Video Coordinator, Media Services’ Football Crew Chief, Intercollegiate Athletics’ Football Video Coordinator, the Director of Football Operations, or the Head Trainer for Football. One of these persons needs to be on the field and in radio or other communications contact with the authorized personnel at all times. The five people listed above will coordinate this effort.
  4. Gusts and/or sustained wind speeds of 35 mph is the safety LIMIT for operating from the new camera platform on the scoreboard at the south end zone without donning personal fall protection equipment. If a camera position is used with the railing in the down position (or not locked in the upright position) and/or the wind speed is above 35 mph, then NIU camera operators will wear their fall protection equipment. The competent person reserves the right to direct authorized personnel to descend this platform regardless of wind speed should weather or other hazardous conditions be present or imminent. The competent person will “advise” non-NIU broadcasters and “require” NIU authorized personnel to evacuate all elevated camera platforms when recorded sustained or gusts of wind reach 54 mph.
  5. Elevated camera platforms are prohibited from use if sleet, ice, snow, or a combination thereof is present unless a competent person determines these platforms can safely be cleared as to eliminate reasonable potential for slipping, tripping, or falling during access. Rubber soled shoes are required for working on all elevated camera platforms.
  6. A competent person may assess that the elevated camera platforms are safe to resume work on if inclement weather conditions have cleared for 30 minutes and there are no indications that such conditions will return based upon review of relevant weather data.
  7. Elevated camera platforms not requiring personal fall protection equipment are in the crows’ nests at both 30 yard lines, or on the balcony of the Yordon Center. Personal fall protection equipment may be required when working on the west stadium roof under the canopy in windy and inclement weather conditions as determined by the competent person. Authorized personnel are prohibited from accessing the elevated camera platforms if lightning is detected within 30 miles of campus by a competent person.
  8. Use of single tier and mobile scaffolding located adjacent to the field must be in accordance with OSHA and ANSI safety standards. Use of safety belts may be required. Rubber soled shoes are required for working on this scaffolding.

Safety Training

Authorized persons shall be trained on the safe operation of aerial lifts, scaffolds, and personal fall protection equipment by a qualified trainer before the beginning of each spring and fall football practice sessions. Copies of training certificates will be kept on file in the Media Services Department. EH&S can inspect this file upon request. Competent persons shall have access to such records upon request. Authorized personnel shall also maintain a copy for their files.

Appendix 1: Procedure for the Safe Use of Aerial Lifts on the Road

Intercollegiate Athletics will coordinate with other universities and athletic venues to ensure that elevated camera platforms at off-site stadiums have been properly inspected and maintained for use by NIU authorized personnel.

Prior to and during use, NIU authorized personnel must visually inspect the elevated camera platform in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating manual and report any maintenance issues to the NIU competent person. A copy of the operating manual will be kept on the equipment at all times. The NIU authorized operator will also inspect the field surface to ensure it is stable enough to provide a safe base for the elevated platform.

Each NIU authorized operator has a shared responsibility for his or her own safety. Individual authorized operators always have the right to refuse to work in conditions that they do not feel are safe. Authorized operators must convey their concerns to the NIU competent person on-site. Once notified, the NIU competent person will further evaluate the potential existence for a hazardous condition. If such a condition exists, the NIU competent person will instruct NIU authorized operators to cease operations immediately until the hazard is mitigated. The NIU competent person will advise their respective contact from the university or athletic venue for further guidance and direction.

Authorized operators must be trained on the safe use of aerial lifts on an annual basis or as deemed necessary by the competent person. Authorized operators must attend training on the use of fall protection gear since such gear must be worn prior to accessing and operating aerial lifts.. Authorized operators must retain a wallet-sized, laminated copy of their training certificate (provided by Media Services) and present it immediately upon request.

Gusts and/or sustained wind speeds of 25 mph is the safety LIMIT for safe aerial lift operation unless specified otherwise in the aerial lift operator’s manual. If sustained wind or wind gusts are forecasted to be greater than 25 mph, then the competent person will ground the lift for that period. The competent person reserves the right to direct authorized personnel to descend the aerial lifts regardless of wind speed should lightning be present in the area or or the presence of other hazardous conditions be imminent.

Appendix 2: Beaufort Scale for Assessing Wind Speeds Table (for reference only)
Wind Speed, mph Description Land Conditions
0 Calm Calm. Smoke rises vertically
1 – 3 Light air Wind motion visible in smoke
4 – 7 Light breeze Wind felt on exposed skin, Leaves rustle
8 – 12 Gentle breeze Leaves and smaller twigs in constant motion
13 – 18 Moderate breeze Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move
19 – 24 Fresh breeze Smaller trees sway
25 – 31 Strong breeze Large branches in motion. Whistling heard in overhead wires. Umbrella use becomes difficult.
32 – 38 Near Gale/Moderate Gale Whole trees in motion. Effort needed to walk against the wind.
39 – 46 Fresh Gale Twigs broken from trees. Cars veer on road.
47 – 54 Strong Gale Light structure damage