The Mark Milsome Foundation - Film and TV Online Safety Passport Course

10 videos, 1 hour and 14 minutes

Course Content

The Law and Understanding the Chain of Responsibility

Video 2 of 10
9 min 14 sec
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The following 8 subjects will be covered in this course.

  • The Law and Understanding the Chain of responsibility
  • Risk Assessment and Management
  • Working Hours and Welfare
  • Communication, Competence, Due Diligence
  • Speaking Up
  • When Things Go Wrong
  • Health and Safety abroad
  • Mental Health (To including stress, bullying, harassment and discrimination).

With regards to safety at work and the law, no person should ever get injured and everyone is responsible for health and safety on a Film and Television set. The ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ 1974 places a moral responsibility on everyone to manage safety, to protect yourself and others, to prevent loss of life or limb. To protect property, to protect the production financially and to respect equipment. It places a duty of care on the employer, (production company/studio/broadcaster).

Irresponsible behaviour on the part of the employer or employee can lead to improvement notices & prohibition notices which can result in shutting down the whole production until improvements are made. The cost of this is not insurable. Prosecutions can result in fines to you, the production and a prison sentence can be issued. We all have Moral, Legal and Economic reasons to manage risk and work safely.

A Film and TV crews are broken down into departments to set out a clear order of responsibility and chain of command to help creative production and to simplify communication, but also to appoint responsibility for safety. The producer is responsible for everyone on the production and is the key representative of the broadcaster, financier or studio. If the producer is not on set, the First Assistant director (1st AD) or Floor Manager is a key point of contact. The 1st AD is responsible for overseeing all departments working on set and is reliant on the various Heads of Department (HOD's) to advise of any safety concerns. There are occasions when control can be passed to a HOD to oversee a particular activity, such as during a stunt when a Stunt Co Ordinator is in control, over-ruling the authority even of the director. From here the groups are divided into departments. The Director of photography - Head of the camera department, The first Assistant Director - Head of the AD department, the Gaffer is in charge of the electrical department etc.

Safety concerns relating to any department can be reported to the head of that department or to the First AD or Producer. The HOD is also responsible for sharing information that impacts on other departments and the production as a whole. With specialised groups working together on set, rules relating to the use of equipment, touching and moving equipment are clear and easily defined but in short, no one should  touch anything unless they do not have the authority or experience to do so.

As an individual you have an obligation to highlight any safety concerns, not only to those who are senior to you and to colleagues but also to members of the public if you are on location.

Equipment, materials and products used within your role must be used in accordance with your training and the suppliers or manufacturer’s instructions.

The remit of your job description is outlined in your contract and you should be made aware of them on appointment or if you are upgraded. You can also find out more through Screen Skills who help and support those in the industry, especially those starting out.

Your roles should also be outlined in the Production Health and Safety Policy, a legal document that includes the Productions Roles & Responsibilities and Film Policies.  Every film and TV production has one and you should have access to it. It will also advise who the responsible persons are and who to report health and safety matters to – this could mean the chain of command, as in your HOD, but will also detail who the Productions Health & Safety point of contact is. 

Be aware of arrangements in the workplace for handling risks that you are unable to deal with and report any hazards to those in charge of Health and Safety (producer, HOD or H&S consultants). Finally your personal conduct around the workplace must not endanger yourself or others. Maintain a professional attitude, identify the precautions you must take in your role to protect yourself and others. Do everything you can to reduce risk and pass on any concerns relating to Health and Safety to those responsible.