See Those Battens
May 29, 2009 · Print This Article
As with many backstage objects, rigging pipe battens are normally painted black to reduce their visibility to the audience. While this is good standard practice, it makes seeing these pipe battens more difficult for those backstage. This can be a safety issue for both performer and technician.
The USITT has recommended the practice of painting the last 24″ ends of pipe battens a safety-yellow color color to allow higher visibility for those backstage. This helps backstage folks from walking into lowered battens in lower-light situations, and allows the flyman or rigging controller to have a visual reference as to the locations of the battens during a show.
We recommend this practice, but also feel that the addition of yellow vinyl pipe-end caps can not only help the batten’s visibility, but softens the potentially dangerous pipe end itself. Most theatre technicians have bumped their head on a pipe end at some point during their career. The end cap can soften that blow to the head and since battens can be somewhat sharp on the ends, it can reduce the chance for the need of a band-aid to close up a laceration!
Various manufacturer’s offer vinyl end caps. J.R. Clancy, one of the world’s oldest rigging manufacturers provides these end caps along with space to label both the Lineset Number and the Maximum Lineset Capacity. Having both of these bits of information on each pipe batten provides quick reference for riggers.