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

10 videos, 1 hour and 14 minutes

Course Content

Working Hours and Welfare

Video 4 of 10
7 min 57 sec
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This chapter is important not only for physical crew but for Broadcasters, financiers, executives, producers, line producers, heads of departments and anyone involved in financing, scheduling, budgeting or planning a production.

Before any shoot, it is crucial that the Director/ Producer/ First AD take full responsibility for allowing enough time and resources to achieve what is needed and to realise that a failure to sufficiently fund, compromises the  schedule, adds stress, risk and danger with Health and Safety being compromised. Health and safety should never interfere with creative work flow, instead it should be factored into budgeting  and planning early on so that it needs less consideration on the day.

Any delay in shooting (It rains, an actor is delayed, script issues etc) can crush the time frame and can lead to risks being taken in an attempt to ‘catch up’ with crew rushing to complete the work scheduled for that day. At a certain point, something might need to be adjusted, overtime added, coverage of the scene simplified, schedule shifted to add additional shoot time.

Work should be scheduled for no more than 11 hours per day (Plus a 1 hour paid lunch break making it 12 hrs in total) and schedules should be set between 7am and 9pm unless circumstances like an exterior night shoot, dictate otherwise. Work often takes place before and after the unit call and wrap and the long term goal is to have this time recognised as paid work. You must have a break of at least 11 hours. The Work Time Regulations 1988 is in place to protect you, it sets out the 11 hour period from wrap to call to ensure adequate rest for Health and Safety reasons. Continuous working days (CWD) are days where a running, (hand held, buffet lunch) is provided but no work breaks. Continuous working days are 2 hours shorter than normally scheduled shoot days because there is no break for lunch or dinner.  A meal break should be scheduled no later than five hours after work starts and a second unpaid meal break of one hour scheduled if work continues beyond five hours after that. At least one day of every seven should be a rest day. Only in exceptional circumstances can a seventh day be worked and charged at double time.

Rules and regulations change regularly and you should check the BECTU website for the current agreements. Join BECTU and help strengthen their position to defend your working hours.

It is common at contract stage for you to be asked to waive your rights to an 11 hour work day and almost all crew agree to this and trust in the production to guide them through each working day with a level of respect for an 11 hour turn around.

Rules relating to when accommodation should be provided currently state that when working more than 50 miles away from the production base, accommodation should be provided. An experienced producer should be sensitive to overtime incurred, exhaustion, turnaround and even if the location is closer than 50 miles, even if accommodation is not budgeted, be sympathetic to the needs and safety of the crew.

‘The Road Traffic Act 1991’ clearly states that you must not drive whilst being over tired. It also says you must not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs (legal or otherwise). Make sure you have a plan B if you are tired? Speak to production about travel distances. If you go into overtime will you have time to get home, properly rest and return for work the next day?

If you feel that the days are increasingly too long, if the 11 hour turnaround is being broken or you feel accommodation should be provided, then speak to someone in a senior position, document your concern, others will most likely have concerns too, so consider making a group approach to the producer.

Welfare and the wellbeing of the crew can influence mood, tiredness, alertness and awareness. Toilet facilities need to be clean and within a reasonable distance to set, changing rooms warm and private, a clean hygienic area set aside for eating and drinking during breaks.