Live performance venues and production shops can be dangerous places to work in. They contain a vast assortment of equipment, tools, chemicals, and people, which together create the play, musical, dance, or opera. Those same components can also create numerous hazards, some with the potential of causing permanent personal injury. Hazard recognition, assessment and control are key to reducing and eliminating real and potential hazards. Everything we do has potential hazards, and everyone we work with is a partner in hazard recognition or a potential victim in occurrences.*
Over the past years, many provincial organisations have created health and safety guidelines and best practices manuals to help us avoid many occurrences and reduce the damage and injury from occurrences that do occur on stage and backstage. Below is a list of those publications, which most are available free of charge. We invite you to download them and use them wisely.
* Source: Safety Guidelines for the Live Performance Industry in Ontario
Actsafe is dedicated to the promotion of health and safety in British Columbia’s motion picture and performing arts industries. Our role is to provide arts workers and employers with the necessary support to ensure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.
Actsafe is governed by the industries it represents. They operate through two standing committees that represent the motion picture and performing arts communities respectively. Membership in these committees includes both employer and worker representatives. Their mandate includes providing subsidized training and free industry-related communication, education, services and advice.
Safe Stages is a joint initiative of Theatre Alberta and Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry (Workplace Innovation and Continuous Improvement Branch) and consist of an occupational health and safety resource (190-page binder) for the Alberta theatre community with best practices, forms and additional resources.
A guide to Alberta’s occupational health and safety legislation for employers and workers in the theatre industry — it contains information applicable to all theatre companies, managers, technicians, artists and volunteers in the industry — from the largest of professional and amateur theatre companies and venues, to the smallest of independent productions and found spaces where theatre is produced.
Please visit their website for more information and to download Safe Stages.
Published by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, The Safety Guidelines for the Live Performance Industry in Ontario (the Guidelines) grew out of a need to address health and safety problems that are unique to our business.
The purpose of the Guidelines is to recommend safeguards and realistic procedures to educate, advise and protect workers and management in the live performance industry. It includes recommendations, definitions, and guidelines for topics such as: hand props and costumes, orchestra pits, pyrotechnics, performers flying, rigging systems and fall arrest, sound levels and stage combat, electrical, rakes, fog & smoke, and outdoor venues.
These Guidelines have been prepared by representatives of the industry on the Health and Safety Advisory Committee for Live Performance to assist employers/engagers, supervisors and working professionals in meeting the requirements under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and the relevant regulations made under the Act. The Committee was assisted by experts in the various skills, hazards and techniques mentioned throughout this document.
The Health and Safety Advisory Committee for Live Performance in Ontario is made up of professionals in live performance from across the province large and small, commercial and not-for-profit, arts service organizations and professional associations and unions.
Theatre is a place where magical things can happen – actors emerge out of the mist to tell their stories, imaginative sets roll out and exciting sword fights take place on stage. For those involved in theatre, the creation of a show can pose many potential safety hazards from the creation of sets, costumes and props with specialized knowledge and equipment; to the movement of furniture and actors under overhead lights or in complete darkness. Performers, technical theatre workers, volunteers, supervisors and management all share responsibility for health and safety in the theatre.
With financial support from The Ontario Trillium Foundation over three years (2001-2004), Theatre Ontario created a bold new initiative called To Act in Safety that delivers health and safety training to people at every stage of their theatre career and offers practical and accessible tools, and best practices that can be freely shared in cultural organizations all over Ontario.
This guide is for employers as well as for all workers such as artists, stage technicians, designers, staff members, etc. working in the performing arts, from production to presenting, regardless of their work status.
The film and video industry is unique. Sets and workplaces, often similar to construction sites, are temporary installations where extremely varied tasks are performed simultaneously and where people carry out professions of all types. As a result, many worker health and safety risks are associated with it. Concerned with acquiring the knowledge for preventing occupational injuries in this sector, producers, artists and skilled craftsmen, through their respective associations, met in 1995 to develop the Joint Issue Table for the Québec Film and Video Industry.
With the collaboration of the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST), the Issue Table produced, between 1996 and 2000, an initial collection of prevention fact sheets intended for the film and video industry specifying the safety rules to be applied and the precautions to be taken to preserve the health and safety of workers on work sites. Since then, these partners have met to update the fact sheets by taking into account the regulatory modifications that have occurred since the publication of the first edition. As well, new fact sheets have been produced.