Orchestra pits can be dangerous to members of the crew during load-ins, set-ups, tech work and strikes, as well as to performers on the stage and musicians in the pit during rehearsals and performances. Janet Sellery of Sellery Health + Safety notes:
“There are lots of examples of people and objects falling into orchestra pits. There was a musician who was seriously injured during the performance of a large musical. When the curtain went up, it billowed out to the front of the stage where there was a wheelbarrow of logs. The curtain knocked the barrow over and the logs (real logs) rained down into the pit. The logs struck the musician and her injuries prevented her from playing during a long recovery period.”
Each venue and each production will have unique risks, which must be addressed. The process of identifying and resolving risks begins with a risk assessment.