NEW PAGE – UNDER CONSTRUCTION
The aim of this page is to list some of the Health and Safety regulations that exist to protect everyone working in live events. This is initially focussed on the UK, but will cover more territories in time.
UK Legislation that applies to theatre
HASAWA – Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 – overall legislation that contains the following regulations:
CDM – Construction Design and Management Regulations 2014
COSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
LOLER – Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 2013
Safe System of Work
Every activity required to put on a show of any kind should have a series of procedures which are documented, regularly revised and reviewed, and followed by all involved in the activity. These documents should be available to anyone involved in the activity to review BEFORE the activity takes place.
What is a Risk Assessment?
A Risk Assessment is a formal record of hazards in the workplace, identifying the risks they pose, defining the seriousness and likelihood of the risks, and explaining the control methods to reduce the risks to acceptable levels.
How do I fill out a Risk Assessment?
The Health & Safety Executive (UK) has a set of sample risk assessments for various businesses. [HSE Website]
Can I download a sample risk assessment for a theatre?
We’re working on a series of sample risk assessments, and these will be available to download in the coming months.
PAT Testing (Electricity at Work Act, 1989)
All portable electrical equipment must be periodically tested to ensure it is safe to use, and the results should be recorded for future reference.
A large percentage of faults can be easily found by carrying out a visual check.
- Unplug the item before carrying out any check
- Is the flex correctly secured in the plug?
- Is the cable free from any breaks, cracks, temporary repairs or other damage? (any electrical tape on the cable should be removed, and if a problem is found, the equipment should be taken out of service).
- Can any of the inner cores of the cable (usually coloured brown, blue and green/yellow) be seen through the outer protective cable sheath?
- Is the case fully intact and unbroken?
- Are there any marks on the equipment or plug which may indicate overheating?
- Does the equipment work as intended?
If any of the above checks fail, the equipment must be taken out of service and repaired by a competent person.
MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON
Audience Safety Concerns
Strobe Lights / Flashing Lights
Certain combinations of flashing lights can trigger seizures for anyone with photo-sensitive epilepsy. Warning signs should always be used when lighting effects are being used that could trigger a seizure. Be as specific as possible so that the audience knows what to expect. Don’t forget that actors, crew-members, orchestra members can also be triggered. Here are some examples:
- Fast Strobing Lights are used in this performance
- Camera Flash lighting effects are used in this performance
- Multiple Strobes and Flashing Lights are used in this performance
- An explosion lighting effect is used in this performance
Ensure the signs can be seen by everyone entering the venue.
All items used on stage should be adequately fire-resistant. This includes scenic drapes and costumes. Where fire risks are increased (e.g. near pyrotechnic devices, hot lighting equipment) then extra precautions should be taken.
All systems connected with safety must be regularly maintained and tested. The frequency of testing will be set by local regulations.
Visual checks should be carried out every time an item (e.g. a ladder) is used. If there are signs of damage, it should be referred to the responsible person to be tested and if necessary replaced. No equipment that raises concern during a visual check should be used if a different item is available.
Safety Related Links
Health & Safety
|BAPAM British Association for Performing Arts Medicine [UK]|
|ESTA Fog / Smoke [USA]|
|NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards [USA]|
|Online Sign Free Printable Safety Sign Maker|
|RU Safe? information and guidance about safety in small venues [UK]|
|The Purple Book - The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events [UK]|
|The Yellow Book - ABTT Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment Safety standards and guidelines for venues. [UK]|
|Theatre Safety Blog|
|Allan Chapman & James Insurance Public Liability Insurance etc. [UK]|
|Guide on Running Events Safely UK Health & Safety Exectuive [UK]|
|La Playa UK Public Liability Insurance etc. [UK / USA]|
|Wrightsure Insurance Public Liability Insurance [UK]|
|Actor Cigarette Safe Smoking Prop|
Unions / Associations
|ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) Training, Advice, Membership [London, UK]|
|IATSE International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees [USA]|
|PLASA UK Professional Lighting & Sound Association [UK]|