Promoting a culture of safety

band on stage

I've been organising, running and working on aspects of live events, ranging from festivals and performances to rallies and demos, for over two decades. For all of these events health and safety is vitally important.

Many years ago I was a Health and Safety rep with MSF, as was, at Imperial College in London and took the TUC H&S Reps course, which I followed up the TUC Diploma and a NEBOSH Certificate in Safety and Health. Since then I have been involved with health and safety at events.

However things change and legislation is always developing, so when I saw that BECTU offer a Creative Industries Safety Passport - which is linked to their Union Learning Fund Project, I thought it was time for a refresher.

The training session I attended was at the BECTU offices in South London and was "sold out" with delegates from across the creative sectors ranging from riggers to camera crew to theatre staff and live event organisers.

The Creative Industries Safety Passport (CRISP) came about following requests to BECTU from employers and freelancers in the sector to develop a recognised course and card that covered issues specific to the work carried out. The course is accredited through the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (ISOH), which gives it international recognition – something that is very useful for many of the freelancers that BECTU supports.

The course delivers a level 2 qualification that is valid for three years and follows Health and Safety Executive (HSE) syllabus guidelines as well standards and Code of Conducts from Creative Skillset and BECTU.

The day focuses mainly on the importance of risk assessments and the best ways to produce one that will ensure safe working practices but given the nature of the work a lot differs from normal H&S courses. 

The most common hazards are trips, slips and manual handling - common in most workplaces. But there are also issues around working from height, working on sets and in remote locations as well as dealing with pyrotechnics and lots of electrical kit, often at live events where crowds are present. 

The day was broken into four sections, finishing up with an assessment, to ensure the training has sunk, in before you can be issued with passport. The sections are:

  • Introducing creative industry safety
  • Defining hazard and risk
  • Hazards and practical control measures
  • Improving safety performance

Health and Safety is often seen as a bit dry, but the day passed very quickly thanks to the enthusiasm and knowledge of the trainer, Martin Roberts who has 30 years’ experience as a lighting technician, and fascinating way the issues differ in the various sectors.

It was also very good to hear that the first people employers go to in the creative industries when they need expert advice and training is the union.

All in all a very worthwhile days training and something anyone working in the sector should consider.

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Keith Hatch

Keith Hatch is a unionlearn Projects Support Officer covering communications and the unionlearn website and social media platforms.

Keith is always on the lookout for a good story to show the work that unions do supporting workplace learning and skills.