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Texas Independent School Districts are not governed by OSHA

Texas Independent School Districts are NOT governed by OSHA. So why should you care?

Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay 

So why should I care?

Because all those health problems teachers face in their classrooms about mold and mildew will not be addressed or governed by OSHA  (the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration). Even though the school district is a government entity, and OSHA is an agency in the US Government under the Department of Labor, the school districts are state and locally regulated where as OSHA governs the Federal and private sectors.  

In the course of my employment at the Forest Ranch Center, I noticed several safety violations in the Theater and in the Arena that would have made OSHA ballistic.


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In the theater alone, (and forgive me if I get a tad technical here) on the upper level of the theatrical counterweight rigging systems loading bridge, which by the way has hardly no light to see by, there was a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in the floor with a single ladder leading down to the next level.

The hole was not well marked by any means, nor was there any indication that the hole was even there. This meant that if you didn’t know it was there, you most likely would end up on the level below without taking the ladder to get there.  

I once had a professional rigging Inspector tell me that if you die from something in a school district, that most school districts would rather just pay off the family of the deceased rather than spend the money to get it fixed properly.

That’s the sad state of our school districts in Texas.  


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The Arena at the Forest Ranch Center was no different. The Forest Ranch Center Management allowed custodians to wonder around in the catwalks that sat 80 feet off the Arena floor with the brooms and dust pails oblivious to the fact that if anything fell from that height would do serious damage to anyone walking beneath them on the arena floor.  

And the Forest Ranch Center management turned a blind eye to it all.  

Overhead rigging in the Forest Ranch Center Arena was also a nightmare. The people that management employed had no professional rigging skills. In fact, there was even an employee that came from the accounting department that I watched try to tie a rope around several pounds of cable to send up to the folks in the catwalks.

No one there knew how to ground rig with any kind of knot to safely fly up that many pounds of cable. In fact most of them only knew what we call a granny knot, which is the first knot you tie in your shoe lace.

They would tie granny knots over and over again on the same piece of rope and pray that it would not come loose on its 80 foot trip up to the catwalks. I shudder now just thinking about it!  

I learned to never walk in the arena unless I know who was in the cats. Things falling from the sky without warning was a normal thing there.  

I’m sure OSHA would have a heart attack seeing all this.  My warning to you today is, If you are ever at an arena event in a Texas school district, whether it be a concert, or a graduation, LOOK UP!

Don’t sit under the catwalks and don’t sit under any kind of truss that is over your head. Or you’ll be like Chicken Little in the children’s nursery rhyme, ”The sky is falling…The sky is falling!”

Chicken Little
Sandy Ryan

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Thu Jan 16 , 2020
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. – Matthew 18:20 If you have a story of faith, we would love to hear it! God bless you! Author Recent Posts Sandy Ryan Author at CTK Publications Sandy is a Lighting Engineer, a Theatrical Technical Director, a […]


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