Health and Safety on Stage



NB: The information on this page is currently for UK residents only. Information and resources for other territories will follow.

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. 

Risk Assessment

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.

Access Equipment

Electrical Safety

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.

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.

Further information about electrical tests and checks can be found on the HSE website.

External Links


Fire Safety

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.