Risk Assessment & Your Film Health and Safety Policy

Risk Assessment & Your Film Health and Safety Policy

As a filmmaker, one of your most important tasks in bringing on a cast and crew is to establish the most appropriate film health and safety policy with risk assessment measures which are in place to prevent significant hazards or potentially avoidable accidents from occurring on the set. Not only is establishing a film health and safety policy an obligation for any filmmaker. It’s paramount to all other measures taken in regards to the appropriate care of your cast and crew for the duration of the production.

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Prevention of illness and injury both on and off the set is absolutely vital to the efficiency and success of your production. And your best defense against potential accident or injury is in establishing clear directives.

As to how your cast and crew will interact and engage with one another and with equipment while working on and off the set.

As the producer of a film, you take on the responsibility of also becoming the Safety Program Director. Of course that is unless you hire someone specifically to monitor health and safety of cast, crew, and contractors while working the set.

Your production relies on proper day-to-day administration of risk assessment and film health and safety policy.

Health & Safety Policy Responsibilities of the Producer and Director

Film health and safety policy is set by the producer with support from the director. Who work together to establish protocols for identification and the control of potential health and safety hazards on set.

This includes devising a risk assessment plan. And steps that include safety-related tasks. Which can be delegated by position to other leaders throughout the film crew. Although tasks may be delegated out, the overall health and safety of the crew are dependent on the Producer.

Regular Safety Meetings & Open Communication

Preventing injury and illness requires a commitment to communication. Both among employees and with supervisors. Who may work more closely with crew members or talent on a day-to-day basis.

Regular safety meetings must take place to remind those on set of the importance of health and safety protocols.

These meetings are also an ideal time to allow for open communication as to employee or cast concerns. This should also be on the record, on documentation.

During safety meetings the following actions should take place:

  • Identification of potentially hazardous situations on set.
  • Discussion of safety code practices.
  • Industry specific safety training.
  • Location specific hazard assessment or safety training.

Expressing Concerns

Cast and crew members must feel comfortable with expressing their health and safety concerns with their roles. And should be reminded of the corrective actions that may be available for any potential hazard concerns that may arise.

Risk Assessment for Safety of the Cast & Crew

In encouraging the proper establishment of your film health and safety policy risk assessment will be incredibly important. Although even the most elaborate steps to avoid risk on a film set will not make things 100% safe.

Risk assessment can provide for proper preparation of safety procedures. And advance steps towards hazard prevention. Establishing an understanding of the potential risks involved with a shoot.

And preparation taken to ensure adequate safety measures are in place should a potential hazard occur is key.

Potential Hazards

Risk assessment measures should include analysis and evaluation of the potential hazard. Who’s at risk? As well as advance action steps taken to prevent the hazard.

Assessment of the potential injury severity should the hazard occur. And analysis of the proposed risk of the hazard now that steps have been taken to prevent the risk. 

This data should be kept in a spreadsheet or similar form with details for each scene, set, location, or individual cast or crew member. Depending on the overall complexity and size of the production.

Employee Safety Training

Once risk assessment has taken place, establishing details in your film health and safety policy. Which include regularly scheduled safety training sessions for employees or other crew members is important.

Employee safety training is certainly essential to the limiting of risks involved on the set. And to ensuring that those working the set will do so in a manner that is consistent with the most limited potential for injury or illness to occur.

High turnover rate makes repeat training. And the tracking of the training that cast and crew participate in. An important consideration for any director. It’s absolutely vital that crew members engage in training. To ensure that their assignment is performed in the safest way.

Keep in mind that employee safety training may take place in a variety of formats. Including formal courses, on set instruction, face-to-face instruction, group engagement, and various other styles consistent with the various learning styles of all team members.

Crew members should train to:

  • Perform tasks within their departments safely. 
  • Recognize potential hazards within their designed area or positions on set.
  • Perform the designed work assignments they’ll be involved in on set.
  • Operate equipment such as lifts, cranes, forklifts, or other equipment on set.

Additional Film Health and Safety Policy Considerations

In addition to all of the above considerations made in regards to a film health and safety policy, the following considerations should be taken.

Producers, or those otherwise in charge of the safety of cast or crew should be thinking about any advance initiatives that they can take to prevent illness or injury as the duties of the production are carried out.

Once the risk assessment has been carried out, early on in the design state, specific controls should be implemented for each subsequent stage of the production process. 

For further protection of the health and safety of your crew, consider the following:

  • Testing sets, scenery and props in advance to ensure they are constructed in a manner that is most consistent with the potentially safe use by crew.
  • Establishing inspections and maintenance schedules. Carrying out to ensure continued hazard prevention.
  • Proper monitoring of cast and crew members for their own safety while working on the film set. 
  • Subcontractors have appropriate training and adequate competency to perform their roles.
  • Educating all cast and crew members. Reminding them of the open communication policy. Encouraging early warning of all safety and health concerns to prevent further hazards to the production.
  • Accidents and injuries that do occur on the set are recorded and addressed properly.
  • Sharing incident logs with the appropriate individuals of the film crew so as to prevent future harm.

In Summation

As you can see, film health and safety policy considerations represent key elements of focus for producers, directors and others. To pay close attention to in creating a safe, secure working environment for the film crew.

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