Britain Stages It’s New Theatrical Design Safety Guide

Source: © Jorge Royan 

The UK’s Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has launched a new safety guide for theater industry workers involved in designing, manufacturing, and using machinery on theatrical sets.

The seven-part online guide – the first of its kind in the industry, can be used by anyone involved in this area, including technical managers and designers, construction, production and stage managers, and producers. It covers each stage of a theatrical set, from its concept and design to sign off and use.

The guide was the brainchild of Hayley Seddon, a Committee Member of IOSH’s Theatre Advisory Group.

She said: “Working with machinery presents a variety of safety risks which are faced by many in the theatre industry yet, up until now, there hasn’t been any guidance on how to manage these risks.

“Our new guide really fills a gap in this market. Across the theatre industry we see some fantastic sets. Our guide is designed to be a simple, step-by-step guide which will help people ensure that people don’t come to harm when creating these.”

The areas covered by the new guide are:

  • Concept (design interpretation);
  • Design (white model to final design);
  • Manufacturing; commissioning, inspection and safety sign off;
  • Testing (technical rehearsal through to press night);
  • Final sign off and handover; and
  • Its use.

It guides users through best practice and principles of good health and safety risk management, to ensure sets are fit for purpose and safe for use.

In 2013, US’s OSHA formed an alliance with several participants to develop effective training and education programs for entertainment technicians, regarding fall and electrical hazards and other issues related to the standardization of safety practices in the industry, and to communicate such information to constituent employers and workers.

The goals are:

  • To develop information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards, and to develop ways of communicating such information (e.g., print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and OSHA’s and the US Institute for Theater Technology (ITT’s and the IATSE’s Web sites) to employers and workers in the industry;
  • To speak, exhibit, or appear at OSHA’s or USITT and IATSE conferences, local meetings, or other events; and
  • To share information among OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals regarding USITT and IATSE good practices or effective approaches through training programs, workshops, seminars and lectures (or any other applicable forum) developed by the participants.