CW2: Blog task 4: Health and Safety
I have always thought health and safety was something that everybody kind of knew but it was not until I discussed this task with my friend, Cate, that I came to realise I know a large amount about health and safety because I was trained in it by my previous media jobs and by working full time at a tourist attraction where there are a lot of risks and possible accidents that could happen. I know every job, location and company have different sets of guidance and procedures but generally, the basics are pretty similar.
Common hazards of working in a TV Studio/Gallery:
Each television studio has its own set of procedures and guidelines in order to keep the environment safe for their employers, employees and guests which every crewmember should know and follow. Every television studio has large, heavy equipment that will be handled by their employees and it’s important everyone follows safety regulations to prevent injuries and incidents.
As media practitioners we should know that one of the first rules of working in a crew is not to move any heavy equipment on your own without the support of your crewmembers and if you have any smaller equipment you are able to move on your own – remember to ALWAYS bend your knees to avoid back strain or any other bodily harm.
If you have any previous injuries, physical not emotional, do not attempt to move any equipment before speaking to our lecturers Shaun or Karen incase you aggravate that previous injury. If you do move equipment on your own knowing you have prior injuries and choose not to inform colleagues or lecturers – you’re on your own!
General code of conduct: Clothing, mobile phones and sensibility.
While working in the TV studio or the gallery area, it is always sensible to have your mobile phone either off or on airplane mode to prevent distractions while the show is on air or even running through rehearsals – from experience, never leave your phone on vibrate. If you have any other electronic devices that are not contributing to the equipment for the show, always ensure they are off too.
It is always expected of crewmembers that you are dressed responsibility in the studio or gallery – this is something I have been known to avoid as I am someone who likes to wear heeled boots as a part of my daily outfit which is all acceptable for rehearsals and uni lessons but as soon as you’re producing on a live set or even filming a shoot on another site – it is very important you wear sensible shoes. Non-slip trainers tend to do the job. Open toes is definitely a huge no, no, for the obvious reasons that equipment can be dropped, toes can be broken or even worse – chopped off.
I am someone who tends to wear black or navy in the studio, gallery or generally on a shoot as I feel it is more professional and practical, you can also disappear into the darkness backstage. It is the performers who need the light colours and spotlight. It is also more comfortable – and if you still want to be a fashion diva, just apply some red lippy and you’re ready to go. Another thing you should consider while working in a studio is the amount of jewellery or accessories you are wearing and this includes a watch. You’ve got a floor manager for a reason, he or she will be the one to keep you all in time and following the running order and if you have a higher budget it is very likely that you will have a large clock somewhere in view.
In our television studio at Coventry University, we have a strict no food or drink policy in the green area of the studio and also in the gallery. It is important to keep eating and drinking in designated areas, as spillages could be fatal around that amount of expensive equipment and paying to fix the equipment as well as our tuition fees would not something any media practitioner, especially a student one, needs.
This list may seem very long and somewhat boring but it is something that needs to be done in order to survive the production process and media world as well as maintaining fun in a safe way! The next topic I am going to move on is more of the technology side of healthy and safety; so get your pens and notepads ready!
One common injury in a media production environment is tripping over leads, wires and tripod legs. One way to prevent tripping over wires and leads is by typing them down by using gaffer tape. You can also use the gaffer tape to mark ‘x’ spot for the presenters and guests to avoid them walking the wrong way. Most of the cameras in our studio are on wheels and you can out the break down to ensure they do not move, although some people may trip, at least the camera and tripod is steady.
Electrics: Lighting, mains and wires
If you are a lighting engineer it is your job to make sure all the lights are correctly rigged on, that the heat of the lights are not too high and that they will not cause any dangerous in a shoot.
Camerawork in the studio:
To prevent accidents while operating and setting up cameras ensure the camera operator has a routine that they can follow comfortably. They need to have a route they are aware they will take during the shoot so there will be nothing that could potentially cause them or the other crewmembers problems. For example, if they are walking backwards they should have an assistant to guide them or talk them through.
Healthy and Safety on Location: Applying this to Amsterdam, The Neatherlands
Most importantly before you begin to set up your equipment on location or begin to shoot – you need to conduct a risk assessment and a location assessment to make sure the location is completely risk free for your crewmembers and actors/performers. This is a job for the location managers and directors. Whether you’re a small budget student production or a professional film crew, it is still important that you take health and safety issues very seriously.
While filming, people have a lot of responsibilities and things on their mind meaning they may rush the risk assessment meaning hazards and risks can increase. Simple things begin to become dangerous, as filming on location is not an ordinary situation. The first thing to do is to identify all the hazards, evaluate the risks and identify measures to control and prevent the risks. Once you have done that, you can put in place safeguards to minimize the risks or prevent them completely – you can record all potential risks on the risk assessment in the correct area and ensure all crewmembers have seen the assessment so they are aware of what to do or avoid. The third task to do before shooting on location is making sure everyone is aware of the fire exists and safest/quickest ways out of an area if you are outside.
The risk assessment below is a completed risk assessment to show how you would safely produce a demonstration item that aims to show a presenter performing a coke and mentos trick in his/her mouth (see the video below for an explanation of this).
Section 2 – Hazard list – simply tick those that apply to your programme
MP-Risk-Assessment for Amsterdam completed by Carina Gonzalez-Brown
MP-Risk-Assessment for TV Studio completed by Carina Gonzalez-Brown
Health and Safety Executive (2016) Buildings used for locations or temporary studios in film or tv [online pdf] <http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/etis18.pdf> accessed on 5th April, 2016
Moving Image Education (2016) Production department, locations [online] <http://www.movingimageeducation.org/create/production/production-department/locations> accessed on 5th April, 2016
Scotland, N. H. (2013) Manual handling [online] available from <http://www.healthyworkinglives.com/advice/work-equipment/manual-handling> [17 May 2016]