Fire Safety in the Film and TV Industry
The TV and Film industry is not exempt from fire safety legislation, and whilst there is no specific published guidance for studios, locations, sets, or fire safety at unit base, it is fair to say that guidance produced by the Home Office for fire safety in Offices, Events, and on Construction Sites will satisfactorily meet this criteria and should be applied. Local Authority Fire Safety Officers do not routinely inspect TV and Film sites such as; a Unit Base or a set on Location. It is understandable, as these sites may only be in place for as little as a few days or weeks at a time and sometimes at very short notice. The challenge faced here, however, is that these sites are still places of work, and as such the employer, or in most cases the Production manager will still have to ensure the health, safety and welfare of those at work or who are present on site for other reasons. The duty includes ensuring that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been completed and that any significant findings have been documented. On a lot of occasions, this is included as an 'add on' to the health and safety risk assessment where a very generic approach has been taken and a full understanding of the hazards and risks identified by fire has not been demonstrated. To date the number of fire related incidents in the UK at TV and Film venues has been small but with sometimes in excess of 100 people working at unfamiliar locations on temporary film sets, there is a significant risk of a potentially serious and high profile fire occurring. If this did happen it would also shine a light on the wider TV and Film industry and the Enforcing Authorities i.e. the Health and Safety Executive along with the Local Authority Fire and Rescue Service who would then undoubtedly take a wider look at the industry as a whole.