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Safe Working With Lights and Cameras

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 9 Jun 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Safe Working With Lights And Cameras

Lights and cameras are integral to film and TV productions. These productions may take place in studios, theatres, film stages or on location. The latter may vary from the interior of a home to under the ocean. In other words, lights and cameras may appear in all sorts of places. What’s more, cameras and lights are bulky and heavy. And they rely on electrical power sources.

As a result, Health and Safety Risks are ever-present. And it’s vital that all who work with lights and cameras are aware of these.

Those Involved

It’s not just lighting electricians and camera operators who need to know about health and safety issues. All those who help set up a lighting rig, arrange for the power supply, and direct or use cameras must know the hazards. Such people include directors, gaffers, grips, technicians and best boys.

Risk Assessment

Ensuring the safety of all the people who work with lights and cameras begins with a Risk Assessment.

When it comes to electrical equipment, there are general points this risk assessment must cover. These relate to condition and wear-and tear. Examples of such hazards include frayed cables and incorrect wiring.

But there’s also a need for generic risk assessments that apply to different situations. After all, TV and film crews may use lights and cameras in a range of environments. Among these are:

  • Working at heights
  • Working by, on and under water
  • Working on aircraft
  • Working in hostile terrain

Such risk assessments must lay down standards. One set of standards should apply specifically to the lights and cameras. A risk assessor must consider, for instance, the types of lights and cameras to use in certain conditions.

Another set of standards must apply to related lighting and camera equipment. For lights, the equipment may be scaffolding rigs, stands, and power generators. For cameras, it may be camera dollies, cranes, pedestals, tracks, mounts, ladderpods and jib arms.

Working at heights requires its own set of standards. These heights may be ladders, hydraulic cranes, tall buildings or roofs. Each carries particular risks.

Circumstances

The idea is to create a set of health and safety standards for all lighting and camera equipment and the circumstances in which it may be used. These standards help make sure the equipment is fit for purpose.

Finally, the standards must cover safe operation and correct maintenance. A production crew can then go to work knowing that health and safety is a priority.

Skills

Even so, each member of a production crew that uses lights and cameras has individual health and safety responsibilities. The skills of the crew, for instance, must include an understanding of risk assessment and its aims.

What’s more, all members of a production crew must be willing to help each other with health and safety advice and knowledge. This applies equally to contractors and subcontractors.

There must also be a free and ready exchange of health and safety information as and when necessary. This means that everyone must take a positive approach to the health and safety of all crew members.

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