(E.g., the use of sand, dirt, powder, etc.) 

  • If an employer is contemplating the use of sand, dirt, powder and/or other theatrical dust production elements and/or effects, then the employer must obtain and review the product’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) prior to purchasing.
  • Product(s) without an SDS will not be used in the production.
  • Product(s) that are organic mixtures (e.g., potting soil, etc.) will not be used in the production.
  • For indoor productions, if the SDS indicates that there is silica, quartz, and/or other carcinogens, then the employer will be required to engage an industrial hygienist to sample the indoor air. The sampling will take place prior to and when actors and stage managers are exposed (e.g., foot traffic on the production elements with a sand or dirt surface, powder is used as a projectile, etc.) during both technical rehearsal conditions and show conditions. The sampling will confirm that the levels are (or are not) within the limits per the appropriate standards, such as OSHA, etc. The industrial hygienist will create a report for the employer and a copy will be sent to Equity.
  • If levels are not within the limits, modifications will be made immediately before the next exposure to actors and stage managers (e.g., rehearsal, performance). Once the modifications are in place, further air sampling will be needed to confirm that the levels are now within the limits and a copy of the updates will be sent to Equity.
  • If any changes are made to the product and/or the indoor atmospheric conditions, the show will be subject to conducting additional air sampling by the industrial hygienist. If you know ahead of time that conditions may change, those conditions should be presented to the industrial hygienist during their initial evaluation. Atmospheric condition changes that may affect the levels are adding or subtracting devices that circulate the indoor air (e.g., a fan added backstage, the HVAC system has been adjusted due to the weather outside, adding a smoke and/or haze and/or pyrotechnic and/or chemical snow effect in the show, etc.).
  • For products that will be used in the proximity of the face (e.g., dirt thrown at an individual’s face, etc.), a qualified individual will make a risk assessment including reviewing the product’s SDS to determine if there are any concerns. Thereafter, the qualified individual will give an orientation to all affected members prior to their first use of the product. Any conditions that change with products, the actors and stage managers will be notified prior to working with the products.