Workplace inspection are a necessary and critical part of the health & safety policy. HODs and supervisors are responsible for conducting workplace inspections regularly to ensure any potential hazards that could cause illness or injury are eliminated or controlled for their crew. The workplace should be inspected closely for the purpose of:
- identifying and recording potential and actual hazards associated with locations, buildings, equipment, environment, processes, and practices;
- identifying any hazards which require immediate attention, whether they are unsafe conditions or unsafe acts; and,
- ensuring that existing hazard controls are functioning adequately.
The Production Safety Compliance Report (Form 2) and the Construction & Rigging Safety Compliance Report (Form 3) should be used to inspect work areas for potential hazards that can cause injury or illness. These reports should be completed on a daily basis at each stage and/or location. After the compliance reports are completed, any potential hazard or hazardous situation should be reported as soon as possible so that prompt corrective action can be taken.
Scheduled inspections should be in addition to the everyday health & safety checks that are part of the routine duties of HODs and supervisors. The frequency of these inspections depends on the operations involved, the magnitude of the hazards present, the proficiency of employees, changes in equipment or work processes, and the history of workplace injuries and illnesses. Personnel who are able to identify actual and potential hazards and who understand safe work practices should conduct inspections. Unsafe conditions should be corrected as soon as possible. Any condition that poses an immediate hazard should be corrected immediately or the equipment / area restricted. At a minimum, periodic inspections shall be performed:
- When new substances, processes, procedures, or equipment are introduced to the workplace which present a potential new occupational safety or health hazard,
- When previously unrecognized hazards are identified,
- When occupational illnesses or injuries occur which require an employee to seek a physician’s care,
- Whenever workplace conditions warrant an inspection.
All inspection checklists and reports should be submitted to, and retained by the POC. These documents may be requested for review by regulatory agencies. The inspection reports should also be uploaded to Prodicle.
Drones & Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
The regulatory requirements for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or Drones) are generally nation-specific. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has provided exemptions to allow the use UAS for certain specific tasks within a set of rules and pre-approvals that place crew, cast and public safety as a priority. The production should ensure that all UAS activities are conducted in compliance with all national, regional and local laws and regulations. The safety of cast, crew and the public should be the top priority during any production UAS operations.
In all UAS operations, in addition to the Pilot in Command (PIC) and camera operator, a visual observer should be utilized. In addition, all UAS vendors should be in possession of a valid UAS Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual. A copy of this manual should be provided to the production prior to engagement.
Production should work with the vendor to ensure that all required permits and notifications are obtained/made. There may be several Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) at your film location (e.g., Film Commission, Fire Department, Film Permit Office, etc.) The vendor and production should ensure that all requirements are met and in place prior to the day's activities.
All UAS operations should be directed by a Pilot in Command (PIC) and a Visual Observer (VO). Both of these individuals should be supplied by the vendor. They should be in overall command of the UAS operation.
Unless a waiver has been obtained by the vendor from the regulating authority, the UAS should only be operated in the daytime and should be operated within line-of-sight of the operator.
The production should notify all cast and crew members using the following notification on the call sheet:
An unmanned aircraft is being used and will be flown in close proximity to crew and equipment. Anyone objecting will notify the production manager or First Assistant Director prior to any filming.
Participants are considered cast and crew who are essential to production operations. Individuals in this category should be provided the aforementioned notification and they should provide their consent to be present. The UAS should not be operated directly over any person, except authorized and consenting production personnel.
The PIC should ensure that the UAS is not operated within 500 feet of non-participating individuals or equivalent protection should be present. These persons are any individuals who are not essential consenting individuals who are part of the closed set film operation.
Unless specific waivers have been obtained from regulating authority, UAS operations should include the following:
- Consent must be obtained from all cast/crew directly participating in the sequence.
- The UAS should weigh less than 55 pounds, including camera/load.
- The UAS should not be flown at a ground speed exceeding 50 knots (approx. 57 mph).
- Flights should be operated at an altitude of no more than 400 feet above ground level.
- UAS operation requires a licensed and qualified pilot and a visual observer at all times during flight.
- The UAS should be operated within the pilot's visual line of sight at all times.
- UA should not be operated directly over any person, except authorized and consenting production personnel.
- ll personnel within 500 feet of UAS operations should be necessary for filming.
- Each UAS operation should be completed within 30 minutes flight time or with 25% battery power remaining, whichever occurs first.
- UAS operations may not be conducted at night.
- The UAS may not be operated from any moving device or vehicle.
- A safety meeting should be held with the pilot, observer, and all cast/crew involved to discuss UAS operations and necessary precautions.
- UAS used as flying props are bound by all requirements.
The UAS vendor should submit the following to the production prior to engagement:
- UAS Questionnaire (Form 13) - Production/Vendor should complete & submit
- UAS Evidence of Insurance
- UAS Service Agreement
- Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual
- Pilot License & Medical Certificate
Additional information regarding UAS operations can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #36 - Recommended Guidelines For Safely Working Around Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).
Helicopters & Fixed-Wing Aircraft
The regulatory requirements for the operation of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are nation-specific. The production should ensure that all helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft activities are conducted in compliance with all national, regional and local laws and regulations. The safety of cast, crew and the public should be the top priority during any production aircraft operations.
The Aerial Coordinator or Pilot in Command (PIC) should possess a current approved Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual and accompanying Waiver. The PIC is at all times the final authority over his/her helicopter and should be in command of his/her flight operations and/or related activities. The PIC and/or Aerial Coordinator should have the authority to abort any flight operation in the interest of safety. Abort signals should be specified ahead of time. The Aerial Coordinator and/or the PIC should coordinate with the designated production representative and implement a plan for communications between the participants in the air and on the ground.
During all production aircraft operations, a designated ground person, familiar with the Aerial Coordinator / PIC and the aircraft utilized in the shoot, should be the primary contact between the PIC and production.
The aircraft vendor should submit the following to the production prior to engagement:
- Aircraft Questionnaire - Production/Vendor should complete & submit
- Aircraft Insurance Requirements
- Aircraft Service Agreement
- Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual
- Pilot License & Medical Certificate
Additional information regarding full size aircraft operations can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #3 - Guidelines Regarding The Use of Helicopters in The Motion Picture Industry and Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #11 - Guidelines Regarding The Use of Fixed-Wing Aircraft in The Motion Picture Industry.
Construction Cranes and Industrial Machinery (Forklifts. Aerial Lifts, etc.)
Verify that all industrial machinery (forklifts, cranes, telehandlers, etc.) are operated by experienced, trained personnel in a manner consistent with manufacturer’s guidelines. In addition, verify that all attachments on these machines are approved by the equipment manufacturer. The use of job-built attachments or slings is prohibited unless specifically approved in writing by the equipment manufacturer or authorized representative.
All construction cranes used on the Production should be operated by trained, qualified and experienced operators. In addition, all construction crane use should meet the requirements detailed below:
- All construction crane providers, contractors and rental houses (crane company) utilized by the production should possess the necessary equipment, experience and capabilities to safely perform the crane lifts and other crane operations required by the production.
- All services provided by the crane company should be made pursuant to a fully executed contract, rider or other agreement which is acceptable to the production’s Legal Department.
- The crane company should maintain insurance in accordance with Risk Management’s requirements.
- All construction crane operators should be properly qualified, trained and experienced to operate the type and model of crane that he / she will be operating for the production.
- Construction crane operators should meet all crane licensing / certification / accreditation requirements of the applicable Federal, state / provincial or local jurisdiction in which the crane will be operated. The production should request and obtain written evidence of the crane operator’s licensing / certification / accreditation prior to the start of crane operations.
- The construction crane operator must remain in the cab, at the controls of the crane, at all times when the load is suspended or when the load is being positioned.
- All construction cranes should be inspected at regular intervals as required by applicable Federal, state / provincial or local regulations. The production should request and obtain written evidence that any construction crane to be utilized on the production has passed its most recent required inspection prior to the start of crane operations on the production.
- All construction crane lifts should be designed, reviewed and approved in advance in writing by an experienced professional structural, mechanical or civil engineer, currently licensed in the jurisdiction in which the construction crane will be operated on the production.
- The total weight of the load should not exceed 50% of the construction crane’s load chart capacity for all construction crane lifts involving production-specific equipment / operations such as special effects rigs, stunt rigs, lighting boxes, light diffusion rigs, etc. Load lines and all rigging components in these situations should have a safety factor of at least seven times the maximum intended load.
- All construction crane lifts involving production-specific equipment / operations such as special effects rigs, stunt rigs, lighting boxes, light diffusion rigs, etc., should be tested, reviewed and approved during a full-scale “dry run” in advance of the shooting date.
- A qualified rigger should inspect and approve the rigging attached to the construction crane prior to each lift.
- A written Lifting Plan should be developed for all construction crane lifts and other operations in advance of the shooting date. The Lifting Plan should provide the details of the planned lift(s) and include supporting documentation such as the construction crane manufacturer’s lifting chart, crane operator qualifications, etc. The Lifting Plan should be approved and signed by the professional engineer, crane company representative, applicable production Head of Department(s) and the Unit Production Manager (UPM). A copy of the Lifting Plan should be maintained on set and available for review during the construction crane’s operation on the production. See Form 11 – Construction Crane Lifting Plan, for an example of a lifting plan.
Heat Illness Prevention
The Production is responsible for determining what specific strategies will be implemented to prevent the onset of heat related illness for all production personnel. A sufficient supply of drinking water and shade equipment must be provided to meet the needs of all crew at all locations. Employees must be provided with adequate training to prevent heat illness, recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness if it occurs, and how to seek appropriate medical treatment as required.
Additional information regarding Heat Illness Prevention can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #35 - Safety Considerations for the Prevention of Heat Illnesses.
All electrical equipment including lighting, cabling, temporary power and permanent electrical installations should be installed and maintained in good working order in compliance with the provisions of the appropriate national, regional and local electrical codes. Such equipment shall not block exits, means of egress, fire protection equipment, or fire department access.
All electrical equipment such as cable, distribution boxes, spider boxes, lamps, etc., should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure it is in proper operating condition. Inspections should include daily visual checks as well as periodic temperature monitoring.
All electrical circuits used in and within close proximity to water must be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) or residual-current device (RCD) protection designed for personnel protection. All GFCI / RCD equipment should be inspected and tested on a regular basis to ensure proper operation.
Portable, mobile, or stationary power generating equipment used to supplement building electrical power for temporary should not block exits, means of egress, fire protection equipment, or fire department access. This equipment may need to be located at a pre-designated location approved by the facility representative and the local fire authority.
A minimum 3-foot (1.0 m) clearance should be maintained in front of all electrical shutoff panels.
Historically there have been a number of fires in the Industry related to custom light boxes used on soundstages. The cause of these incidents was usually the result of lightweight combustible construction (wood, foam core) or improper rigging. The following requirements apply to light boxes used on stages and at locations:
- The framework shall be constructed of noncombustible material. Aluminum speed-rail is an example of an approved material.
- The side and top panels shall be constructed of noncombustible materials.
- Light boxes shall be ventilated to prevent excessive heat within the box.
- An appropriate noncombustible shield shall be provided over the light bulbs. Metal screening with 1/8 inch openings or glass are recommended.
- All light boxes shall be rigged with a minimum of three feet of wire cable or non-combustible equivalent before any rope is used.
- All combustible materials shall be kept a minimum of three feet away from the surface of the lamp.
Any connections to “house power,” commonly known as “tie-ins” should only be performed by licensed, trained individuals with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Before performing this work, check with the the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and ensure that all applicable electrical codes, Federal, State and Local laws and regulations, are followed.
There are typically a variety of high voltage power lines in the vicinity of many shooting locations. The voltage in any power line in the vicinity of a production set or location should be determined by the Location Department to ensure that the appropriate clearance is known and maintained. The minimum safe approach distance for equipment and employees is 10 feet for power lines carrying 50,000 volts or less. Higher voltage power lines (greater than 50,000 volts) have greater clearance requirements. Equipment should be positioned so that no mechanical failure or human error will result in the equipment entering the predetermined safe clearance zone. No equipment or employee should ever be positioned above an energized power line, regardless of voltage. The production should place overhead power line caution signs as appropriate to remind the cast and crew of the presence of the power lines. The topic of power lines should also be covered in every on set safety meeting in areas where power lines are present.
All excavations require underground utility clearance prior to the initiation of digging. In addition, many excavations also require shoring and / or a permit. All excavations must be approved prior to the initiation of digging.
All employees on platforms and working surfaces over 6 feet (2 m) in height should be protected by fall protection systems. These systems can include adequate guard railing, personal fall arrest systems, or other approved measures. In addition, all employees utilizing fall protection equipment should receive adequate training on the use of these systems.
Ensure that all overhead loads are safely rigged utilizing trained, experienced riggers and proper rigging techniques. All rope, chain, cables, equipment, components, etc., should be designed for overhead rigging use. In addition, ensure that all anchorages are adequate to handle the intended overhead load (static or dynamic).
High Visibility Highway Safety Vests
Appropriate high visibility safety vests should be worn by all employees when working on active public roadways. In some jurisdictions the use of these vests is required. This includes activities such as prep, rigging, filming, striking, etc., unless the production has obtained full closure and control of the roadway. Safety vests are also required when directing traffic or locking up during partial lane closures where intermittent traffic control is utilized. Other conditions or locations such as working on or near a transit system or railroad also require the use of appropriate safety vests.
Call Sheet Production Safety Phone Numbers
The Production Safety Specialist or Health & Safety Advisor and the Safety Hotline numbers should appear on all call sheets.
Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Waste Disposal
All hazardous materials and hazardous waste must be stored and disposed of properly in accordance with all applicable Federal, regional and local rules and regulations. Generally, a government-issued generator identification number and shipment tracking manifest are required to legally transport and dispose of hazardous waste.
Wire Rope and Cables
Any job-built cable, wire rope, or other device made with components including compression sleeves and hydraulic compression tools (e.g., Nicopress) must be made in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and checked with a sleeve gauge to ensure adequate sleeve compression prior to use. Any cable or wire rope that has been shock-loaded must be removed from service.
If equipment such as aerial lifts, boom lifts, cranes, silks, green screens or any other wind-sensitive device or set is planned to be utilized on this production, the department in charge of that piece of equipment should monitor the wind speed to ensure the safety of the cast, crew, and equipment.
Lightning and Severe Weather
In areas with the potential for lightning and other severe weather, a lightning detector or weather monitoring service should be utilized by the production. As industry practice dictates, the production should be prepared to shut down generators, lower lifts and cranes, and shelter all cast and crew in a safe location whenever lightning is detected within 6 miles of the working area(s). The production should plan for the potential of lightning occurring during shooting, prep and strike. A lightning safety plan should be developed for each location and include procedures for generator shut down and cast / crew sheltering in a substantial structure, vehicle or other recognized safe shelter area. Please note that tents are not considered to be safe shelter areas.
Additional information regarding Heat Illness Prevention can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #38 - Guidelines for Inclement or Severe Weather.
The Special Effects Coordinator should ensure that a Special Effects Safety Inspection Checklist (Form 9) is completed for each planned large-scale special effect or special effects sequence. This checklist should be completed and submitted to the Producer, UPM and Production Safety Specialist at least 3 working days in advance of the shooting day.
Pyrotechnics & Flame Effects
All pyrotechnics and flame-related special effects should be under the direct supervision of a licensed pyrotechnics operator. The operator should have his/her license available for review at all times.
All employees working with pyrotechnic devices must be properly certified by the applicable jurisdictional agency. Ensure that only properly certified employees work with pyrotechnic devices and that each employee is in possession of his or her certification card while working on the production. In addition, ensure that all operations including purchasing, transportation, storage and use are in compliance federal, regional and local laws and regulations. Please ensure that any required permits have been obtained from the local fire authority and are present during pyrotechnic operations.
Storage, use, and handling of all pyrotechnic special effects material should be in accordance with Section 3304 of the International Fire Code. Storage of pyrotechnics should be in clearly marked, approved storage magazines.
The Producer, UPM, Production Safety Specialist, facility representatives and the local fire authority should be notified before the use or testing of any pyrotechnic devices, open flame devices or open flame special effects.
A permit may be required from the local AHJ. The local AHJ generally determines the appropriate measures to be taken to ensure an acceptable level of fire safety. A test, witnessed by the local fire authority may be required to demonstrate the safe use of pyrotechnics before normal use.
All practical fireplaces, whether built on stage or acquired elsewhere shall meet local fire authority requirements. Free burning combustibles is not generally allowed in fireplaces.
Additional information regarding pyrotechnics can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #16 - Recommended Guidelines For Safety With Pyrotechnic Special Effects and Industry Wide Bulletin #19 - Recommended Guidelines For The Use of Open Flame on Production.
Dust, Smoke & Fog Effects
Fuller’s Earth is a general term for a variety of clay products that frequently contain aluminum magnesium silicate and / or crystalline quartz silica. Fuller’s Earth should not be used around unprotected cast or crew.
Black Smoke is usually generated through the burning of potentially hazardous materials such as diesel fuel, tires or through the use of black smoke generators. Black smoke can pose environmental, as well as health & safety concerns. Black smoke should not be used around unprotected cast and crew.
Mineral oil has historically been used to create fog or smoke effects. Mineral oil smoke / fog should not be used around unprotected cast and crew.
Additional information regarding dust, smoke and fog effects can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #10 – Guidelines Regarding the Use of Artificially Created Smokes, Fogs and Lighting Effects and Industry Wide Safety & Health Awareness Sheet – Photographic Dust Effects.
The Stunt Coordinator should ensure that a Stunt Safety Inspection Checklist (Form 8) is completed for each planned large-scale stunt or stunt sequence. This checklist should be completed and submitted to the Producer, UPM and Production Safety Specialist at least 3 working days in advance of the shooting day.
Additional information regarding stunts can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #4 - Stunts.
Working with Minors
Special procedures should be undertaken on any planned sequence which includes minors performing physical activities. Please see Industry Wide Procedural Guideline No.1 – Special Procedures for Minors Performing Physical Activities. Please also ensure that all jurisdictional regulatory requirements relating to minors are complied with. Prior to any on camera or rehearsal work involving minors performing physical activities, key personnel, including the following must be contacted: UPM, Production Safety Specialist and Production Executive.
Railroads and Transit Systems
Any production shoot or activity (scout, rehearsal, etc.) involving rail work (i.e., working onboard trains, in railroad yards, subways and elevated systems, or in the vicinity of railroad equipment or right-of-ways) should be conducted with the knowledge and approval the owner / operator of that rail system. There are strict rules governing rail work. These rules must be communicated to and followed by all cast and crew at all times. The production should check with the AHJ and with the railroad owner/operator for local regulations, specific guidelines, and required training. Each railroad property or transportation agency may have its own rules and training requirements. In many cases, all production personnel must receive training.
Additional information regarding railroad safety can be found in Industry Wide Safety Bulletin #28 - Guidelines For Railroad Safety.