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THEATRE production

Introduction to Theatre Safety

This section introduces key topics and concepts within


theatrical safety. Technical theatre is inherently hazardous and
it is extremely important that we as theatre technicians and
theatre practitioners keep ourselves, colleagues and the public
safe.

Safety legislation

Licensing legislation
If you have a venue and wish to perform any regulated
entertainment in public, you are required to obtain a licence to
do so.
Regulated entertainment includes any play, ballet, dance, opera
or musical entertainment given before the public. The licence is for
the venue. There must also be an individual per- son responsible
for ensuring all its conditions are met. The aims of the

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

licence, in relation to health and safety, are to ensure that:


o

Places of entertainment have adequate standards of public


safety

o
o

Any possible noise or other nuisance that may be


caused to the immediate neighbourhood is
minimised or avoided
Children are protected from harm

Crime and disorder are prevented

Licences are granted by the Local Authority, which may impose a


number of conditions. Despite local variations, most licences will
usually require you to:
o
o
o

Carry out an annual inspection of the premises electrical


installation and emergency lighting systems
Have an annual fre inspection and approval from the
local Fire Authority
Ensure that adequate arrangements for the safety of the
public whilst in the venue are in place including
procedures for emergencies and evacuations

In addition to Licences for established venues, a temporary


event notice can be granted for the short-term presentation of
performances in other venues or spaces.
Although the actual licensing arrangements in Scotland differ,
especially regarding the sale of alcohol in places of
entertainment, from those in England and Wales, the practical
effect upon health and safety matters is largely identical.

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

This section is an edited extract from the ABTTss Theatre


Essentials. The full version is available on canvas or the ABTT
websitehttp:/www.abtt.org.uk/shop/codes-of-practice/cop010theatre-essentials-2005-edition/

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

The Model National Conditions for Places of Entertainment provide


a template of detailed licence conditions for Local Authorities in England
and Wales. No such standard exists in Scotland, but similar conditions
of licence should be expected.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
This Act sets the general framework for the management and
enforcement of health and safety. In particular, it sets out:
o

Duties on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of


their employees and any other people who may be afected by
their undertaking

Duties on employees and individuals with regard to their own


safety and that of others

Duties of manufacturers and suppliers to provide safe equipment

The framework for health and safety enforcement through the


Health and Safety Executive and Local Authorities

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999


These Regulations outline specifically the expectations on the
employer to demonstrate that health and safety is being managed
adequately. You will probably be most aware of the requirement to
carry out risk assessments (Regulation 3) but there are also others,
including:
o

Arranging for competent advice and assistance on health and


safety matters

Having adequate emergency procedures in place, including suitable


contacts with external services, such as the fire brigade and police
Providing adequate information for employees

o
o

Ensuring enough co-operation and co-ordination takes place between


different people sharing the workplace this is of critical importance in
relation to producing, touring and receiving activities in the theatre
industry, and the other chapters in this document look at ways in which
the theatre industry can meet this requirement

Ensuring that all staf have the capability and training to carry out their
work safely
o Duties on employees to report any shortcomings and follow the
requirements of any risk assessments
There are many other health and safety regulations that are relevant
to the theatre industry the table below outlines the main requirements
of some of these.
o

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

The Licensing Act 2003 discarded standard conditions, however the text
is reflected in Guidance to the legislation; the concepts, especially the
annexes, provide useful guidance for managers and technicians.

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Regulations
Confned Spaces
Regulations 1997

Introduction to Theatre Safety


Main requirements include
Wherever work has to be carried out in a
confned space, the employer must carry out
a risk assessment and implement control
measures as per the Approved Code of
Practice to reduce the foreseeable risks
associated with such work. A confned space
is any space which has one or more of the
following attributes:

Limited access or egress.

The space is not intended for continuous


working.

Control of Substances
Hazardous to Health
Regulations 2002
(COSHH 2002)

The space contains known, or


potentially, hazardous sub- stances
and/or atmospheres.

Conditions of engulfment or
entrapment may exist or develop.

To assess, before use, the risks of using a


substance at work.

To ensure that the exposure of employees


to substances hazardous to health is
prevented or where this is not reasonably
practicable, reduced to the lowest level
possible.

To provide information, instruction and


training on
hazardous substances to all employees
who may be exposed.
Electricity at Work
Regulations 1989

To provide safe electrical systems and


equipment through installation,
inspection and maintenance.

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Introduction to Theatre Safety


Ensure that people working on systems are
competent.

Provide safe systems of work.

First Aid Regulations


1981

To provide adequate frst aid provisions at the


workplace.

Provision and Use of


Work Equipment
Regulations 1998
(PUWER 98)

To ensure that all equipment provided for use


at work is:

Suitable for its intended use.

Safe for use, maintained in a safe


condition and where necessary
inspected to ensure that this remains
the case.

Used only by people who have


received the relevant information,
instruction and training.

Accompanied by suitable safety measures,


such as guarding.
Lifting Operations and
Lifting Equipment
Regulations 1998
(LOLER 98)

An extension of PUWER (see below), and


specifically requires you to ensure that lifting
equipment provided for use at work is:
Strong and stable enough for its particular
use.

Marked to indicate its safe working load.

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Introduction to Theatre Safety


Positioned and installed to minimise any
risks.

Manual Handling
Operations
Regulations 1992

Personal Protective
Equipment Regulations
1992

Used safely, i.e. the work is


planned, organised and performed
by competent people.

Subject to ongoing examination,


inspection and maintenance by
competent people.

A general duty to eliminate, where


reasonably practicable, manual handling
operations.
Where this is not possible, to assess the
operation, reduce the handling risk and
provide information and training to staf.

To provide PPE where the risk cannot be


controlled by other means.
To assess the PPE before use for its
suitability to the task.
To maintain and store the PPE in good and
clean order.

Control of Noise at
Work Regulations
2005 (April 2008 in
theatres

To reduce employees exposure to the risk


of hearing damage to the lowest reasonably
practicable level with a maximum permitted
exposure level of 87 dB(A) and a peak sound
level of
140 dB(C) when wearing hearing protection.
Where the daily or weekly exposure to noise is

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Introduction to Theatre Safety


likely to be
80 [85] dB(A) or higher:
To ensure a noise risk assessment is
carried out by a competent person.
To reduce noise levels to the lowest
reasonably practicable level, by other
means than providing hearing
protection.
To provide employees with information,
instruction and training about risks to
hearing, what they should do to minimise
the risks, and how they may obtain ear
protectors.
To provide hearing protection if requested.
To place employees at risk under
health surveillance. Where the daily or
weekly exposure to noise is likely to be
85 [90] dB(A) or higher:

To provide and enforce the wearing of


suitable hearing protection.

Work at Height
Regulations
2005

Set requirements to
Avoid work at height where reasonably
practicable.
Take measures to prevent falls where
work at height cannot reasonably be
avoided.
Use measures to reduce the consequences
of any fall where
the risk of falling cannot reasonably be
eliminated.
Undertake a risk assessment before work

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Introduction to Theatre Safety


at height, defined as any place from
which a person could fall. (The previous
2m lower limit no longer applies.)
Provide training and supervision.
Establishes a hierarchy of access
equipment with ladders the least
preferred.

Reporting of Injuries,
Diseases and
Dangerous
Occurrences
Regulations
1995 (RIDDOR 95)
Working Time
Regulations (WTR) 1998

To report specified injuries, diseases and


dangerous occurrences to the relevant
enforcing authority on the appropriate forms
within specified time periods.

Requirements include the need to:

Limit the amount of time a worker can be


required to work to an average of 48
hours per week, although they can
voluntarily work longer hours if they wish
in specific circum- stances.

Limit the hours which a night worker


may be required to work to an
average of 8 hours in 24.

Provide free health assessments for night


workers.
Provide 11 consecutive hours of rest each
day for workers.

Allow workers to have one day off each


week or two days of in each two week
period.

Provide an in-work rest break if a


worker is working longer than 6 hours.

Provide 4 weeks paid leave per year.

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Introduction to Theatre Safety


The Regulations deliberately use the term
worker to reflect the changing nature of
employment, so it is not just full-time permanent employees who are covered but also
part-time, temporary
or those working on a casual basis. However,
these requirements
do not apply to those who are truly selfemployed.
There are also more stringent requirements
for people under the age of 18.
Many of the requirements of these
Regulations can be modifed
by collective bargaining between the
employer and Trade Unions. If in doubt you
should contact the relevant union or
management organisation (details listed in
Chapter 4) for details of the specific
agreements that would apply to your
situation.

Regulatory Reform (Fire


Safety) Order 2005
(effective April 2006)

This replaces the Fire Precautions Act 1971


and the Fire Precautions (Workplace)
Regulations 1997 as amended. The Order
applies in England and Wales; other, similar,
legislation applies in Scotland and Northern
Ireland. The Order applies irrespective of
having a fre certifcate under the 1971 Act or
a current theatre licence and places the
responsibility for fre safety on the
responsible person usually the employer or
the controller of the premises. This includes
any temporary premises such as marquees or
mobile theatres. The responsible person(s)

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must undertake a fre risk assessment to
identify the risks that can be removed or
reduced and to decide the nature and extent
of general fre precautions needed to protect
people against any remaining fre risks. The
local Fire Authority will inspect premises and
may require changes to the arrangements.

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

Risk Assessment
The Management of Health and Safety at Work
Regulations 1999 introduces the concept of risk
assessment and risk management and whilst this sounds
like something that is going to be deathly boring it is
something that you will meet daily in your life as a
technical theatre practitioner.
Risk Assessment Basics
Hazard

Severity
Likelihood
Risk
Control
Measure
Action

Something that can cause harm or


loss to you someone else or
property
What is the worst thing that could
go wrong Death?
What are the chances of this
happening
Is it likely, is it bad?
How can I reduce the severity and /
or likelihood
Who needs to do this ?

Lets look at an example.


For our example lets use the picture at the beginning of
this handout, the chap hanging the banner.
Identify a
hazard

Falling

Calculate
Severity

On a scale of 1 5? 5

Calculate

On a scale of 1 5? 4

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Likelihood
Calculate Risk

Introduction to Theatre Safety


Multiply the two numbers above
20

Identify some
Control
Measures

Reducing Likelihood
Use a ladder
Reducing Severity
Put a crash mat underneath

Action

Who needs to do this ? The worker

OR we could use the table below:

Hazard

Falling

Severity

Very High - 5

Calculate
Likelihood
Calculate Risk

Very Likely - E

Identify some
Control

Reducing Likelihood
Use a ladder

Look across the table to where the


very high and very likely cross, its
red and says HIGH so we need do
more to reduce the risk

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Measures

Introduction to Theatre Safety


Reducing Severity
Put a crash mat underneath

We keep introducing control measures until the risk is


low.

HSWA - The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974


The Health and Safety at Work Act is an act of parliament and
as such any transgressions can be prosecuted in a criminal
court and as such and employer if found guilty can be subject
to an unlimited fne or indeed imprisonment. An employee
can be fned up to 20,000.
In the case of prosecutions under this act the burden of proof
is transferred, in other words in others words it would be up
to you to prove you had done everything that could
reasonably be expected of you with respect to health and
safety. It is not up to the HSE to prove you didnt. IN other
words your are assumed guilty until you prove otherwise.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Section 2 Duties of an Employer:
Must provide:
o A safe place of work (including safe access to and
egress from)
o A safe working environment.
o Safe tools, plant and equipment.
o Information, Instruction, training and supervision.
Sections 7a, 7b and 8 Duties of the employee:
o

7a: Nothing you do or fail to do (at the workplace)

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

must put yourself or others at risk.


7b: If the employer has to do something by Health and
Safety law, and he has done it, the employee must, by
law, comply.
8: The employee must not interfere with or misuse,
anything provided for his safety.

PUWER Provision & Use of Work Equipment


Regulations 1998
The Regulations cover any and all equipment issued by
the employer for the employee to use for their work.
Except:
Livestock (Police dogs for example)
Substances (covered by COSHH)
Private motor vehicles (Pool cars and vans are covered
though)
The regulations state that all equipment provided for use at
work must be:
o
o
o
o

Suitable for its intended use


Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and
where necessary inspected to ensure that this
remains the case
Used only by people who have received the
relevant information, instruction and training
Accompanied by suitable safety measures, (such as
guarding)

The important things to remember are:

IIT-MIT

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

Information, Instruction, Training


Maintenance, Inspection, Testing

EatWR - Electricity at Work Regulations 1989


o

o
o

To provide safe electrical systems and


equipment through installation, inspection and
maintenance.
Ensure that people working on systems are
competent.
Provide safe systems of work.

This is an extension of PUWER so the concept of IITMIT


will apply, all electrical equipment supplied must come
with relevant instructions, Information and if necessary
training. It must also be maintained properly,
inspected regularly and be tested appropriately. This is
where the idea of PAT testing comes from.
It is a widely held belief that PAT testing has to be
carried out annually but this is incorrect. Each item is
risk assessed as to its use and context to calculate
how often it should be inspected and tested. For
example a mains powered electric drill used all the
time and chucked in the van after use will need to be
inspected before each use and tested every 3 months
or so. But the 1K theatre lanterns in my rig that dont
move from year to year would probably only need to

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

be inspected annually and tested every two or three


years.

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

LOLER - Lifting Operations and Lifting


Equipment Regulations 1998
Again, another extension to PUWER. It reminds us that
lifting equipment must be:
o

Suitable Rating for Purpose:


o Sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for
the proposed use.

Visibly Marked
o with any appropriate information to be
taken into account for its safe use, e.g.
safe working loads, where equipment is
used for lifting people it is marked
accordingly

Competent Person
o to plan, supervise and carry out lift
operations in a safe manner

Inspection:
o Lifting equipment may need to be
thoroughly examined in use at periods
specifed in the Regulations*

A competent person being one with:


o Theoretical Knowledge
o Practical Experience
o Ability to Assess Risk

SWL

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Introduction to Theatre Safety

All lifting equipment in the chain needs to be


suitably rated to support the load

The SWL of a system = SWL of the weakest link!

Lifting Equipment needs to be marked with:


o SWL (or WLL)
o Manufacturer
o An Uniquely Identifable Marker

o
o

Static load is diferent from dynamic load!


Always err on the side of caution

We will, of course revisit various elements of Theatrical


Safety as we progress through the subject