March 3, 2011

Less than a month after Actsafe launched its new Live Performance Electrical Certificate (LPEC), the organization is getting strong signals that the program will be a success.

“Our goal is for 100% of our eligible techs to hold this certification,” stated Matt Lees, Personnel Director for Riggit Services Inc. “It’s the first step in people understanding the concept of power and shows one’s skill set with regard to an understanding of technology and theory. The certification not only provides the knowledge to ensure safety, but also legitimizes the work.”

The BC Safety Standards Act requires certification of electrical and audio-visual technicians working in theatres, concert halls and other live performance venues.

But until February 1 this year, only the Full Entertainment (FE) and Limited Entertainment (LE) certifications were available. Though the FE and the LE are required for work in film and television, both credentials exceeded the level of expertise needed in the live performance industry.
Industry raised the issue of a certification gap, and in response Actsafe worked with electrical professionals in the areas of live events, concert tours and theatre to develop an online test for the LPEC certification.

Nik von Schulman, Director of Production with Patrick Roberge Productions, is one of five industry specialists who helped develop the test. He confirms that safety and liability were important concerns in the industry.

“When you are tying in to feeder cables with high amperage, people can be injured,” says von Schulman. He credits the live entertainment industry for being “proactive in this area of health and safety.”

Broad implementation of the LPEC is also great news from a community relations perspective: audiences attending a theatre or a special event like a fashion show expect those involved to understand how to do the work safely and prevent accidents.

Dustin Burns, an entertainment industry technician, has taken the test, found the study guide expanded his knowledge of power, and was easy to digest. “Safety being paramount, I really respect the fact that an association like Actsafe can put together a program, for free mind you, to create a baseline skill-set for working around electricity that is potentially fatal,” stated Burns.

Of those who have taken the test, 93% passed on their first attempt. The certification has no expiry or requirement for renewal.