COVID-19 Update

Scary AV Installer Stories from the Field

AV installers from various parts of the industry share their scariest stories from the field – thankfully, everyone made it out of theirs alive!

Leave a Comment
Scary AV Installer Stories from the Field

We all have moments that scare us at our jobs. For me, it was the time I was working in radio and accidentally re-recorded empty “dead air” over an already-recorded newscast. The expression on my face as my then-manager demanded to know where the 5 o’clock news went was surely enough to betray fear, among a few other emotions. But what about AV installers? What freaks them out on the job site?

In honor of Halloween, I asked the good folks on the appropriately-named “AV Install Nightmares” Facebook group to talk about a time when they were earnestly scared on the job site.

Their responses are just as chilling as my managers’ that fateful evening in the radio station…

Stories of Heights & Falling

It puzzled me to see so many replies that were building off of an already-extant fear of heights. You’d think that AV installers — or really just any tradesperson — would understand that they’ll likely be up on ladders quite often (I’m teasing here… of course unreasonable fears don’t work like that!).

Nevertheless, most of the replies had to do with taking a spill of some kind (or almost doing so). We’re genuinely glad to hear that, in most of these situations, everyone came out alright… or, at least, alive.

Here are some highlights:


Stories About Other People

Whether it was because of other AV installers who weren’t doing their jobs, or active assailants threatening their safety, a few of the respondents had a story about a time when another person caused them a fright.

Related: Spooky Tech: Step Inside Some of the Scariest Haunted Houses in America

Stories of the Supernatural

I didn’t expect to see anything like this, but I’m happy the person shared it:

But, apparently, he was not alone! Others report strange sightings (see below).

Let us know in the comments if you’ve had a particularly scary thing happen to you on the job!


About the Author


Adam Forziati is senior web editor for Commercial Integrator and MyTechDecisions.

Accelerating The Next Stage of Business

November 17-19, 2021 | Orlando, FL

Apply to join the elite in the integration industry.


  • Ben Stiegler says:

    at a high school where I coach theater tech, many years ago when I started, the “norm” was for kids focusing lights from a metal rolling scaffold to operate barefoot, climbing and standing on a 4″ ledge outside the balcony rail and leaning out to focus lights on fixed pipes, and working above others without any wrench tethers. Yikes! There was some denial and some friction as I brought these up, but eventually they settled down

  • Ben Stiegler says:

    As chief engineer, 1 nite I was all alone at 2AM in our college radio station, working on things that interrupted broadcast. The 208 outlet that fed the AM transmitter was in our lobby, and it was awfully loose in its box. Fearing little, I went to tighten up the screws holding the outlet in place (plate was off). The table with our UPI news TTY was behind me, and I leaned on a leg while I worked on the outlet. Suddenly, I was jerking around, the “this is your life, buster” movie began playing at warp speed in my mind, my arm was clenching, and I had a very bad zap going on. Miraculously, I managed to ungrip the screwdriver and break the circuit.

    What happened? The TTY was grounded, and screwed to the metal table (I should have known … I secured it). My screwdriver must have slipped to a hot screw …. and there was a very fine path to ground right thru my torso. Now I am much more respectful of shutting off (and locking out) the breaker before tackling such tasks.

  • GLENN POLLY says:

    1993 – World Expo in Taejon Korea, It was during rainy season, and it poured for several weeks before we arrived on site – the job site was a sea of mud as I approached the pavilion every step I was shin deep in the mud. And then I saw the most scary part of the job – a 10 story scaffold made of bamboo, all of the sections were tied together with rope. The local laborers had erected it around the perimeter of the pavilion so we could install (10) 40″ CRT monitors in weatherproof housings – the screens in their housing must have been close to 350 pounds each – we had to hoist the screens and housings up to the top of the bamboo scaffold with a chain hoist. And it continued to rain throughout the entire install – with every screen we hoisted, the bamboo scaffold creaked and made some really scary sounds, we thought for sure the entire structure was going to collapse. By the time we got to the 2nd or 3rd location, we got into a groove and completed the installation without any issues.

  • Colin Tyler says:

    Mid July, peak of the day, one of those sticky humid ones that Toronto is known for. The actual temperature was in the high 90’s so I can only guess what level of humidity I was working in. I was the last tech on the job, pulling the wrapped comm cable from the church platform area, up a wood ladder built into the studs, through a trap door into the high pitched attic that was full of loose insulation and then across the sea of insulation on joists to the far corner drop point to the floor FOH area. I was unrolling 175 feet of wrapped mic snake, VGA, speaker lines, etc. that felt like a ships anchor chain in the heat. Did I mention that I had to lay a plywood path as well, moving boards forward on the joists? At the corner drop point I had to do a swan dive & slide under a huge HVAC plenum and come out the other side to rope pull the comm line to the drop point. I was dressed in a shop jump suit, tucked in socks, long sleeve shirt buttoned down and collar up, aside from the googles, respirator and painters bag hat due to the insulation. Hence the need for the swan dive to get under the plenum. Job done! Comm line dropped down the corner point of the church to the FOH area. Having to only ‘domino’ my boards back was a welcome relief. My skin under the bulky clothing was wet beyond belief. At the bottom of the stud ladder I stripped in haste for some air, searching my pockets for my phone to check the time. My phone was gone! I borrowed a phone from a painter in the basement and called my cell from the top of the stud ladder. All I could hear was my worst nightmare coming from the far corner, past the plenum! I did a full redress, repeated the process to get to the corner area, and made the dive under the plenum. My jump suit snagged the plenum and I was stuck! Then it dawned on me that nobody knew I was up here. I had even returned the borrowed cell to the painter. My heart was pounding with the heat, anxiety had crept in on me and I was really starting to panic! Just then my phone pinged a notification and I realized it was right beside me. I lost it in the first dive! I could reach it with a stretched arm. Then I leveraged my feet against the plenum edge to pull myself backward and unhook myself out of the insulation sandwich I was in. Outward bound! Soggy, panting, parched and out of breath! I’ve never worked a tough install alone since! Hindsight told me I should have known better the first time around…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *