For years the global rigging industry has been voicing concerns about the lack of a formal method for riggers to demonstrate their competence, especially since there is no current legal requirement to meet a recognised standard.
There is a risk if the Middle East rigging industry doesn't pull together and formalise something itself, than potentially an outside party could introduce a scheme that may not be 100% appropriate to what the industry's riggers actually do here.
In the region there have been additional concerns raised about the absence of Occupational Health and Safety standards and legal framework measures in place to protect workers.
Riggers have to contend with many burgeoning factors in this industry. They constantly work against the clock, on top of this they have to grapple with poor communication and language barriers, making it all the more important to introduce formal training certificates and legislation to protect both workers and the industry.
In 2006, the UK introduced a National Rigging Certificate. Both local and international industry heads argue that a similar measure should be adopted here, not only to give entertainment rigging a recognised status as a profession, but to employ a model that can address the growing complexities within the market.
As the entertainment industry continues to grow in the Middle East, it is imperative suitable infrastructure is put in place to recognise an individual rigger's skill set and capability to ensure the job is carried out professionally, while at the same time minimising work place injuries.
So far despite the efforts made by many industry professionals, who have requested the implementation of working standards to protect and train their staff, their pleas have largely gone ignored.
Unfortunately there is still a very long way to go before the industry can say it has addressed the problem. The question remains is; who is going to be the first to step-up to the plate and tackle this problem head-on?
Kelly Lewis is the editor of Sound & Stage Middle East.