Safety First at the Grammys

Safety First at the Grammys

from: Richard Verrier, LA Times

At the Grammy Awards Sunday night, performers including alternative-country duo Civil Wars, jazz artist Diana Krall and British singer Adele will take to the stage, along with the reunited Beach Boys and more than a dozen other musical acts.

Working behind the scenes to make sure that nothing goes wrong is Paul Holehouse, entertainment risk consultant for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.

Holehouse, a former safety executive at Universal Studios, visits sets of movie and TV shows as well as big events like the Grammys to identify potential risks and avoid accidents that can cause injury, losses and delays.

“My job is to coordinate with them [the producers] and make them comfortable that any liability issues are addressed ahead of time so they can do their show without any concerns,” said Holehouse, 63.

This week he was busy meeting with representatives of John Cossette Productions Inc., which is producing the Grammys, and with rigging crews and fire department officials, to review plans for the two-hour show to be held at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles and telecast on CBS.

“There’s a whole spectrum of things we look for, from slip and fall hazards, to stunt effects, evacuation plans and the rigging on stages,” Holehouse said.

At the 2010 Grammys, Holehouse was responsible for ensuring that Pink’s high wire act, in which she twirled in the air wrapped in silk scarves while fastened to a harness, went off without a hitch.

In addition to the Grammys, Holehouse also worked on the halftime show at the Super Bowl, the popular music festival Lollapalooza and scores of TV shows and movies. In fact, Fireman’s says it insures 80% of all films in the U.S., and 60% of all reality shows, providing coverage for everything from props and sets to actors who don’t show up on set because of a death or illness. The company also issues so-called film completion bonds, which are guarantees that a film will be completed on schedule and on budget.

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