Entertainment safety consultants set out guidance for sector

  • Health & Safety
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An industry whitepaper called “Improving Risk Communication in Film and TV” has been released, proposing improvements to safety practices in the UK entertainment sector.

Produced by entertainment safety consultants Safe Elephant, the whitepaper draws lessons from the aviation industry, exploring risk communication strategies.

The release comes in the wake of high-profile incidents in the sector. This year, an on-set armorer passed a live gun to Alec Baldwin, which led to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (42). The armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (26), was found guilty in a US court in March of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

One witness, crew member Ross Addiego, told the jury that the production had been working at “ludicrous speeds” and that “safety seemed to be secondary”.

Several crew workers walked off set at one point, in protest of working conditions in the hours before the shooting. Staff had reportedly complained about gun safety.

It is this kind of incident the whitepaper hopes to prevent. Three key recommendations aim to make changes to how the sector operates, promising to:

·       Increase transparency between various studios and production companies by sharing learnings of accident and incident investigations;

·       Improve dynamic risk communication practices for quick and effective communication on fast-paced sets;

·       Implement training programmes and workshops to pro-actively equip industry professionals with essential safety skills.

Safe Elephant’s report explains how making these changes can have greater impact across a business:

“Implementing these recommendations promotes a culture of safety, mitigates risks, safeguards crew members, and enhances productivity. As the industry evolves under heightened public scrutiny and growing production scales, the responsibility to safeguard crew members becomes increasingly imperative.

“Adopting communication strategies and practices from the aviation industry can help proactively address risks, ensuring compliance with legal, financial, and ethical standards while improving industry standards and reducing reputational risks.”

The whitepaper is a result of collaboration between King’s College London, through an internship programme with a student from their Risk Analysis, Disasters & Resilience MSc, and experienced Health & Safety professionals in the Film & Television Industries.

Safe Elephant Managing Director, David Downing said:

“At Safe Elephant we believe in the importance of sharing knowledge and learnings at all levels, and with that in mind we are incredibly happy to release this paper in collaboration with King’s College University. We appreciate their input on this paper and hope that their knowledge and findings will benefit the whole industry”.

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