Electrocution is the fifth leading cause of workplace death from injury. More than half of those deaths result from the use of defective equipment or not following safe procedures.  

Before leaving the SFTV Grip & Lighting Department with electrical equipment, examine all cables for breaks or cuts in the insulation. The same examination should be made of cables on the stages prior to connecting power.  Do not use damaged cables. 


The design of sets frequently requires electrical fittings and wiring to be mounted on flats and scenery for “practical lights1”. Only a qualified electrician should undertake the work of fixing and wiring electrical fittings and fixtures. 

Do not let your body become grounded. Many factors can put you at risk of becoming grounded. If you are grounded, it means you have the potential of becoming part of the electrical circuit and thus, open to having electricity pass through your body.  This can be fatal. 

The following is a partial list of the serious risks on both interior and exterior locations:  

  • Wet feet, wet hands, wet or damp floor or ground, wet lamps, wet cables 
  • Touching two lamps at the same time – even when conditions are dry faulty circuits at your location 
  • Faulty wiring of your lighting equipment, appliances or cable insulation breaks or cuts in the cable 
  • Touching electrical equipment and a grounded object any place where water is present 


Lights underwater 

LMU does NOT have certified water sealed lights. No lights or electrical cables can be submerged into any water source under any circumstance. If lighting directly from within water is absolutely necessary, you must rent certified waterproofed lights from a company that specializes in such lights (ex; HYDROFLEX Inc.) You will be required to have an experienced lighting technician present if using any of the above mentioned underwater-specific lights.  

These lights MUST be used with an in-line GFCI (see the Generator section for more information) between the power source (house power or generator) and the entire set. 

Inspect all cables for damage that may cause water to seep in. Do not use any equipment you feel may have a defect. 

Filming near water; 

  • Lights and any electrical cables must remain no closer than 10 feet from water. This includes; pools, fountains, ocean, ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. 
  • A GFCI must be used at all times. LMU does have small in-line GFCI’s that can be rented to attach to small lights closest to the water sources. However, a larger GFCI still needs to be used to protect the entire set and crew. 

Filming in damp and wet conditions (rain) 

  • All of the above still applies but you must also take other precautions. 
  • All distribution boxes must be elevated from the ground to keep them from resting in water. This can be done by using “swamp boxes” which LMU will provide, or a plastic milk crate or a half or full apple box. Plastic trash bags or Visqueen should be used to cover the distro boxes and all electrical connections. 
  • Feet and hands must be dry when doing any If rain is imminent, stop and disconnect power before you and your equipment get wet.  You should have an up to date weather forecast just prior to setting up for the day.  
  • Electrical connections MUST also be elevated from the ground and not left in standing water or in wet conditions. 
  • Lights used outdoors need to be covered/protected from the rain. This can be done by using Celo Screen (a tough plastic wire screen), a metal flag, aluminum Black Wrap, or a solid structure no closer than 3 feet above the light (be aware of fire sprinklers). DO NOT USE solid-fabric covered flags, rags or solids as water protection. Water with still seep through. You will be charged a fine from L and G for anything returned wet or damp. 
  • Be aware of sprinklers when filming on grass. Make sure you know if the sprinklers are turned off or are on timers. 
  • Lights/cables used indoors on wet/rainy days are NOT ANY SAFER if the power source is coming from outside or from a generator. All of the above still applies. 


No student is allowed to “Tie-In” or connect DIRECTLY to any Electrical Main or Circuit Breaker for power. This is illegal and dangerous. The Electrical Main service panel “is like a switchboard for all the electricity in a home or commercial location. It receives the incoming power from the utility company and distributes it to each of the circuits that supply various lights, outlets, appliances, and other devices.”

Know where the circuit breakers are at your location and DO NOT OVERLOAD any circuit. Breakers commonly list the amperage each is rated for. (ex. 10-amps, 15-amps, 20-amps, 50-amps, 100-amps etc.)  Do not load more amperage than each breaker is marked (see the chart below for a quick way to determine how many amps a light will use.) It is common for one breaker to be designated to a single room. If there is doubt, use different sources (rooms) for lighting a particular set. Each room is likely to have its own breaker or several, thus lowering your chance of overload. Older location structures which have only the two-prong type outlets must be avoided. If your location uses the old screw-in fuses, do not shoot there. Consult with L&G to examine alternatives and power sources.  The Lighting and Grip department offers low power-draw lights such as LED’s and Kino Flo’s of several varieties as well as Quasars. These types of lights should be considered first when plugging into to the outlets of any structure and are recommended for indoor filming.

Amperage/amps are how much power the light requires/draws to operate.

Light Types

Tweenie 650650 means it uses 650 watts which equates to 6.5 amps *  
Baby 1K 1K means it uses 1000 watts which equates to 10-amps **
Junior 2K 2K  means it uses 2000 watts which equates to 20-amps ***
Senior 5K 5K means it uses 5000 watts which equates to 50-amps ****
Tenner 10K10K means it uses 10,000 watts which equates to 100-amps *****

*         No more than 2 can be used in a single outlet.  

**       Only 1 can be used in most outlets.

***     Not recommended for plugging in to an outlet. Consider a generator.

****   Not possible to be plugged into an outlet. You must use a generator.

***** Not possible to be plugged into an outlet. You must use a generator.



  • NEVER USE ALUMINUM LADDERS or any METAL support such as kitchen step stools when working with electricity. 
  • Use cable crossovers for electrical cables if you must lay them across walkways, sidewalks and doorways. Cables must be properly secured in all walkways. 
  • Do not reach for an electrical appliance that has fallen into water. Unplug the device immediately if you have dry hands and feet when it is safe to do so.  Make sure the breaker has “TRIPPED” FIRST 
  • Always hold the cable connector or plug when disconnecting a cable. Never pull from the cable. 
  • Examine all electrical equipment for signs of wear. Watch out for breaks or openings in any cable, any plug or any place where the cable attaches to a lamp. 
  • Uncoil heavier electrical cables before they are used. Cables should not remain coiled while they are connected to power. 
  • Make sure equipment is properly grounded. 
  • Keep all exits where you shoot clear of equipment and cables. Escape routes must be understood by the cast and crew. 


  • DO NOT PULL THE VICTIM AWAY WITH YOUR HANDS – you may be shocked, too. Use a broom, belt, towel, rope, lumber or other non-conductive material to separate the victim form the source of shock. 
  • Call 911 
  • Try to disconnect the source of power  
  • Once the victim is separated from the electrical source, determine if they are breathing and have a pulse. If not, begin CPR immediately and continue until the ambulance arrives. 
  • Be sure that all equipment that is being plugged and unplugged is in the off position to avoid creating an arc at the receptacle. 
  • Wear protective gloves to avoid getting burned from a flash created by short-circuit in the equipment. 
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