WHAT'S NEW - HSE Clamp Down On Production Set Builds

HSE Clamp Down On Production Set Builds

If a set build is going to take longer than 30 days, with more than 20 people working on it at once, or amount to over 500 person days of work it becomes notifiable to the HSE under the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regs.  The set builds on most large features and TV dramas meet this criteria.  

Once notified, inspectors from the local authority or from regional HSE construction teams can, and increasingly do, visit unannounced to check that all the relevant rules and regulations are being applied. 

"Productions need to get up to speed quickly" - HSE Inspector

Following a recent inspection to a large feature production the HSE have been briefing industry forums on their renewed focus on production builds.

After his visit, the inspector issued the production in question with a Prohibition Notice - which prevents any further work from being done before safety breaches are corrected - for breaches of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Regulations.  Amongst other things, they found that there was no lifting plan in place, the weights of loads were not known, there were no qualified slingers or signallers, people were working below slung loads and there was no evidence of lifting equipment being checked.

The impact was a two-week delay in the set build and production schedule.  The steel erection contractors had to be replaced as they were unable to produce suitable risk assessments and method statements. 

The inspector also served an Improvement Notice (requiring improvements to be made although work can continue) regarding the use of chemicals and materials – commonly found in the art departments – under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regs.  Mixing plaster of Paris without gloves, using fillers, resin and toluene (paint cleaners) with no protective clothing or masks being worn, no extraction system in spray areas or safe means of cleaning spray guns, no extraction or control measures for welding fume and a lack of training or awareness by the people involved were some of the issues identified. 

The Improvement Notice required all chemicals on site to be properly identified and risk assessed with control measures put in place in accordance with the COSHH Regs such as the provision and use of appropriate protective equipment including properly face fitted masks.  

They also made a number of other observations including a scaffold tower that was incorrectly assembled, which had it been in use at the time would have resulted in a further Prohibition Notice, poor electrical safety and generally a low level of awareness and concern about safety among the people on site.  

HSE Construction Division now has production builds under the CDM notification system. They are 'happy to enforce' 

The message from the HSE to industry forums is for productions to get up to speed on required standards quickly.  The HSE construction division now has studios and locations firmly in their sights and are ‘happy to enforce’ the rules.  The HSE’s internal guidance on inspections gives a picture of what they expect.

First Option can help with all aspects of production construction safety from implementing the CDM arrangements to ensuring contractors are working to the rules.  We provide PPE, mask face-fit testing, harness inspections and our consultants can ensure productions are safe, compliant and not vulnerable to costly interruption.