Risk Assessment Template
Health and Safety for Media Production Students
Aspects of health and safety are essential elements of many courses.
Health and safety in all countries is an important aspect of film and television production. In the UK, the relevant legislation includes the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 (which requires employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment and employees to observe safety rules and carry out their work in such a way that they do not endanger themselves or others). There is also the Health and Safety Regulations, 1992, which apply to freelancers as well.
The main concept for producers to bear in mind is that ‘careful consideration’ of health and safety issues for all employees has to be taken and proven.
Not only could lives be endangered by not following simple health and safety procedures, but failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence which can carry a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine, if convicted. Senior executives of colleges/universities/companies can be made personally liable.
Analogies are often made with the construction industry, where health and safety is likely to be the responsibility of a number of different sub-contractors in one or more locations. It is imperative for the executive producer/tutor to nominate a suitable individual to be in charge of co-ordinating health and safety between contractors/production teams.
That executive producer could be you, as tutor responsible for a group of students, so it is important that individual students are made aware of their personal responsibilities as well as actions deemed to be the production team’s responsibility.
The health and safety regulations contain a number of recurring themes such as ‘Risk Assessment’. Equally, the provision of information to workers is of fundamental importance. Samples of ‘Risk Assessment Sheets’ can be found via the RDN on the BBC Health and Safety Site http://www.bbc-safety.co.uk/, although an easy to complete short version would be more appropriate for student use.
The design of and filling in of a ‘Risk Assessment Sheet’ for each project that the student undertakes provides tangible evidence that that staff and students are not only aware of health and safety considerations but also actively operate in a safety conscious manner. Copies of the sheet would normally be included with the written work that students submit to support practical activities. The assessor would very easily be able to pick up any recurring issues that arose.
Students should be reminded that locations need to be assessed not only on their aesthetic value, but also on their health and safety implications. Shooting plans may change upon arriving at a location and after a risk assessment has already been made. An on-the-spot revision of the risk assessment should be carried out to avoid exposure to risk.
Health and Safety regulations are accompanied by detailed guidance notes or, in the case of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, by an approved code of practice (available via the RDN from the Health and Safety Executive http://www.hse.gov.uk/. Immediate ports of call for general queries are the HSE Web sites, again accessible via RDN, or from information centres which are based in most areas of the country: contact numbers can be found on the Web site HSE Books http://www.hsebooks.co.uk/homepage2.html also issues a number of publications providing practical guidance on health and safety issues. They also provide free booklets written specifically for freelancers in the film and television industry and people working in the entertainment industries.
Other sites that could be useful:
The Producers Industrial Relations Service (PIRS), which is co-owned by the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) http://www.pact.co.uk/, The New Producers Alliance http://www.npa.org.uk/homepage.html and the Independent Television (ITV) companies can also provide initial advice on health and safety matters. Skillset http://www.skillset.org/sset_home/home.asp – the sector skills council for film, television, video and multimedia, runs training courses for producers on health and safety issues.
Sample Risk Assessments