Film production’s vary in the degree of risk involved. The stunts that the likes of Tom Cruise undertake need far more consideration and planning than most.‘Now You See Me’ contains a scene where actor Isla Fisher nearly drowns in acting a scene in which she was submerged in a tank of water. The emergency button was out of reach.
COVID has added a new dimension of safety levels needed for video production. As Bryan Sullivan write in Forbes,
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended everything we know about workplace organization and safety, and one industry that has, and will continue to have, more difficulties than most is entertainment, specifically film and television production. Unlike many industries and office arrangements, remote working is not possible for production, close contact is often necessary, the entire production is usually dependent on specific people, and there are many unions and government authorities issuing mandates and guidelines that have an impact on production activities.”
Risk assessments make it clear for those in charge of health and safety to put in place the necessary precautions. It can be the difference between a scratch and a serious injury.
A risk assessment is the combined effort to identify and analyse potential events that may negatively impact both the people and assets involved in the video production. Risk assessment works to create measures that help to prevent the likelihood of harm.
Elements of a risk assessment
For each section of the risk assessment, the following factors need to be filled out:
What is the specific factor during filming that needs to be addressed? What actions do the teams need to make to minimise the chance of it occurring? An example would be crew or participants tripping over lighting and camera cables.
Categorise the hazard as ‘high’, ‘medium’, or ‘low’. Risk levels give an insight into the level of measures needed to offset potential hazards.
Here is where to outline the measures needed to prevent hazards. For the example mentioned in ‘Hazards’, the producer/ company can minimise cast and crew to be on set during rigging. Ensure that local Hospital details are on a call sheet. Arrange for vehicles are available and close by in the event of needing to make a hospital visit.
It’s rare for a precaution to remove all risk of hazard. This section involves outlining what the risk is once the precautionary factors are implemented. For our example, in the previous example risk would be minimal beyond individuals not heeding/ignoring all warnings.
Mention here all crew, cast members that may be affected by the hazard.
Allot responsibility so that each precaution has an optimal chance of being implemented consistently and correctly. Each individual on set often has to take personal accountability and the producer and perhaps the head of the department also.
Risk Assessor’s comments convey essential safety information, for example, outlining having a first aid kit on hand at all times. The assessor can also include the reminders, warnings and signs needed to ensure safety or any other safety matter that needs addressing.
The Production Safety Advisor will include any statements they need to make to ensure the safety of all involved in production. Be sure to adjudicate responsibility.
Shooting locations can change, cast members may vary during production. Many factors can change during filming, which is why updating the risk assessment form is crucial. Disseminating the updated information across teams ensures that any new potential hazards are minimised.
If you’re looking for assistance to shoot a film in Ireland, we can help you finance and produce your next film or TV project! Contact us at Irish Film Services for more info.
Here is our FREE Risk Assessment Template for you to download here. It includes all of the factors to create a comprehensive form that addresses safety concerns during films: