WHAT'S NEW - COVID-19 Productions: A Day In The Life Of Martin Barraclough

COVID-19 Productions: A Day In The Life Of First Option's Health and Safety Consultants - Martin Barraclough

By Vandana Thanki

As the leading health and safety provider, First Option have been in the forefront this past year, supporting many productions to return safely back to work. First Option's associate team and safety consultants have been supporting several productions onsite, to ensure cast and crew members are following the COVID-19 protocols and staying safe on set. First Option have supported the industry, by developing guidance, to training over 7,000 industry professionals on the safety measures of the pandemic.

I interviewed some of our health and safety consultants to find out more about what COVID-19 measures were put in place in their productions.

New member of the First Option team, Martin Barraclough, is currently managing the health and safety protocols on the set of a reality television programme, produced by Studio Lambert. With around 200 cast and crew members, the programme has brought up some unique challenges. Studio Lambert engaged with First Option in the early stages of the pandemic, to establish how they could successfully adjust to the conditions of COVID-19. 

At present, the production is based in an ex-university building, which allows the team to utilise the space and accommodate distanced workstations, controlled entry points, regular cleaning breaks and more. The team have made great use of Perspex, designing creative solutions to seat everyone safely in the numerous working areas. Perspex partitions for desks and dining tables, as well as fixed and portable meeting screens, ensures the production members can communicate and work safely.

Due to the length of the job and the need to have teams work in the same spaces, ventilation has been a challenge in some rooms. 

Following a ventilation assessment, several key rooms have been found to need extra ventilation, so a forced air ventilation system has been installed to the affected rooms. 

‘’Support that starts from the top is much easier to filter through, as we all seek to lower the risks of disruption and keep as many crew working as safely as possible.’’ – Martin Barraclough

Production COVID Team

Studio Lambert have an extremely proactive COVID-19 team, who are supporting the task of implementing and developing protocols as well as assessing the risks of the production.

Production staff, trained by First Option, are acting as COVID supervisors and are managing the complex testing regime for contestants and others in the contact cohort.

Martin also mentioned that to keep the momentum going, the team have been completing compliance walks and are sending out regular emails and noticeboard updates, to ensure all the members are informed of the current COVID-19 protocols.