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Truss Inspection - what you should be doing 
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Damaged chord end
Damaged chord end indicates truss should be taken out of service

Diagonal member damaged by forklift
Diagonal member damaged by forklift

Every rental house and production facility knows how much work goes into testing and maintaining an inventory of lighting or sound equipment. Can any technician imagine sending equipment out for a show without first making sure it is working correctly? But how many users do the same thing for their truss? Before every use, truss needs to be inspected to make sure it is ready to be used. Even though it is metal, truss can be easily damaged when handled by a careless forklift driver, or when being shipped to a show.

So how often should truss be inspected, and what needs to be looked at during an inspection? For guidance on this subject you can turn to ANSI E1.2-2006 - Design, Manufacture, and Use of Aluminum Truss & Towers. This document was created by the PLASA (then ESTA) Technical Standards Program, Rigging Working Group. The manufacturer of your truss (and I'm sure you own nothing but the finest Total Structures hardware) should also be able to supply you with inspection guidelines for their product.

Just like any production equipment, your truss should be given a visual inspection before every use. Check the truss for bent or broken members, dented chords, smashed chord ends, and general wear and tear. Small scratches are going to happen. If you have a gouge that is greater than 1/16" deep, then you may have a problem. Since most of the tubing used in truss has a wall thickness of 1/8", you can very quickly lose more than half of the wall thickness, compromising that member. Check for signs of misuse or mishandling. Did the last rental customer decide to use self-drilling screws to attach scenery to the truss chords? Did the hands drag the truss across a parking lot, grinding off the ends of your chords? Are there dimples in the chords from a C-clamp being tightened down without any protection? Any of these problems may render the truss unsafe to use.

Truss is pretty robust equipment. It isn't unusual to see pieces that are more than 10 years old in some company's inventories. With proper care and precaution this should be the norm, not the exception. As always, if you have any questions about what is safe and what should be given a closer look, contact your Total Structures sales rep for more guidance. 
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