Risk assessment is the process of considering every phase of a production and working out what hazards are involved. All work processes need to be taken into consideration. Where a hazard exists and a risk identified you should document them and also the control measures. The process should involve all the people involved with the production.
Below you will find some information on risk assessment, which is designed to help you think about the risk assessment process.
Below is what I put together for a venue.
The idea of doing a risk assessment might seem daunting at first. But it is put into place to protect you, the performers, crew and audience.
There are several factors that you need to take into account to do a risk assessment. These can range from the people involved, what their actions are during the event, the equipment that is being used, and the sets that are being designed, built and used. You need to look at the event with fresh eyes, and you will then be able to see the potential hazards and come up with solutions for them.
This risk assessment you are undertaking is wholly about what you are doing and/ or bring into to the venue and also what you might be asking the venue to set up for you.
The legislation in Australia requires that employers etc are to eliminate any reasonably foreseeable hazards and risks, to all persons in the workplace.
Look around for hazards that you could expect to result in injury to people.
Consider who might be harmed.
Particular attention needs to be paid to:
New and inexperienced workers
People with disabilities
Is more needed to be done to control the risk?
Check that the controls that you have in place are effective.
Consult the people involved for their input for a solution.
Do they meet legislative requirements?
Do they meet industry standards?
Record your findings
This should show that a proper check was made
You considered who would be affected
You dealt with the obvious hazards
That precautions are reasonable and the remaining risk is low
Here we have included some common hazards that prevalent in theatre.
Smoke and Vapour Effects
All personnel to be warned when used.
To be directed away from exits where possible.
Warning notices placed in venue to warn audiences.
Fire alarm system may have to be isolated; by venue therefore fire warden supplied by venue at your expense has to be on duty
Venue needs to be notified well in advance
Firearms and other Weapons
All firearms have to be deactivated
Only qualified personnel to handle
All swords, knives and blades should be blunt
All weapons to be inspected
Any action requiring weapons to be used has to be choreographed to minimise risk to cast and crew.
Assess if it is really required
Set the flash rate to below 4 cycles per second. Less likely to affect sensitive people.
If using multiple units they should be synced.
All cast and crew to be informed before hand, so that anyone that is sensitive can take adequate precautions.
If strobe is to be used adequate signage is needed.
Similar risks to smoke effects due to smoke given off by effect
Approval to use they various fuel sources
Are the sets, props and costumes fire retarded or made from material that is fire retardent.
Fire detections systems may have to be isolated. Fire warden required.
Extra fire fighting equipment may have to be supplied.
The effect of extra heat on performers and crew
Adequate number of rehearsals for cast and crew.
Venue needs to be notified well in advance
Adequate warnings for cast and crew.
Some people will be photosensitive if taking certain drugs such as ;
Oral contraceptives, tetracyclines
Minimise exposure where possible.
Make sure audience are not directly exposed.
Sets and Props
Now a lots of companies have been using the same set pieces for a number of years. Now you need to look at them again to see if they comply. There is a variety of Australian Standards and/or Building codes that they need to comply with. If you do bring in to the venue something that does not comply, the venue will not allow you to use that item. There is no negotiation in this matter.
Risks associated with the use of a set must be assessed at the design stage.
There are a lot of elements to look at where sets are concerned. Some these are:
Weight of the various items, manual-handling requirements
Movement of set pieces around the stage before and during event
What static load is it meant to support
What dynamic load is it to support
Fire retardants – what has been used
All platforms, stairs etc need to comply with Australian Standard AS 1657
Stair and edge nosing to be highlighted
All scenic elements that are load bearing, carry people or have the potential to fall have engineering certification.
All applicable parts of scenery have SWL’s(Safe Working Load) clearly visible.
As you can see there is lot in sets and props. We have only skimmed the surface. If you need assistance in this area please do not hesitate to contact the venue for guidance.
Bump In/Bump Out
Manual handling the correct way
One person in charge making sure things go where they are meant and exits, doorways etc are not blocked
That an adequate number of people to assist
Once a vehicle is un-loaded it moved away to carpark.
All electrical equipment that is brought into venue should be tested and tagged in accordance with council regulations.
If not tagged it has to be approved by the venue technician.
All cables taped to floor
No cables to block doors from opening
One person from the event is the main contact for the venue tech. This person is the one responsible to make sure that the venue tech is made aware of what is going on.
This person passes on OH&S material.
There is always someone in contact with venue tech during rehearsals and performances
All cast, crew and FOH staff made aware of exits
All cast, crew and FOH staff made aware of emergency procedures
All exits, doors, and passages to be keep clear
Wing space to be kept tidy
Clients to control audience.
Audience not to go through curtain or to go on stage
Dressing rooms to be kept clean
Consideration to be given to others when using hairsprays etc
All spills to be cleaned up
All accidents and near misses to reported to venue staff and appropriate paperwork to be filled out
Clients are reminded that they are responsible for what happens in the venue, whether the incident happens to the cast, crew or audience. You have to have in place procedures to safeguard all of these people. So you should also supply a first aid kit.
Now this may seem like at lot of effort but by using this information in conjunction with the risk assessments forms will help you if you do have an incident. If you have taken adequate measures you are less likely to end up in litigation.
The next step is to document this. This will be covered in another post