Health and Safety Policy

  1. General Policy Statement
  2. Appointment and Training of Safety Personnel
  3. Fire Safety
  4. First Aid
  5. Attendance requirements
  6. Rehearsal requirements
  7. Get-In/Get-Out arrangements
  8. Using sub-contractors
  9. Dressing Rooms
  10. Children
  11. On-stage and in the wings
  12. Front of House
  13. Liaisons
  14. Tallescopes, Ladders and Scaffolding
  15. LOLER requirements   (The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998)
  16. PUWER requirements (The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998)
  17. Risk Assessments
  18. New Recruits
  19. Safe systems of working
  20. Sign-in/Sign-out
  21. Accident book
  22. Electrical safety
  23. Annual Audit
  24. Safe methods of working for Wokingham Theatre

1. General Policy Statement

Wokingham Theatre

We provide safe working conditions and a healthy environment for our members.

We ensure that equipment and systems of work used by our members are safe.

We provide training and information to our members as is necessary within the framework of our health and safety organisation.

We ensure that the public at large are protected from danger or risks to health as a result of our activities.

We ensure that this policy is reviewed each calendar year and that as a result of that review changes are made to procedures and our overall health and safety organisation to take into account the items identified as needing change in that review.

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2. Appointment and Training of Safety Personnel

The Group recognises that the health and safety of its members, property and external persons is paramount. It appoints a member of the Board to have the responsibility for health and safety matters within the Group. The appointee reports directly to the Chairman of the Board and/or its Officers.

The Group has appointed Richard C Coleman as its Health and Safety Officer.

The Group realises that the appointee mostly needs to have an administrative background, an analytical mind and the ability and tenacity to work to a tight timetable in the preparation, elaboration and fulfillment of the agreed health and safety programme. Such expertise is essential to ensure that the system is properly monitored and analysed on a regular basis. In addition the incumbent is seen as a diplomat, a he/she needs to have the ability to enforce health and safety policy in the Group that performs its activities as a hobby.  He/she also needs to be able to have constructive dialogue with external bodies and persons who may have differing views on the health and safety issues that need to be addressed by the Group in the fulfillment of its objectives. The Group also recognises that it is a bonus to have an incumbent with a technical background as this aids the understanding of some of the more complex issues of hazard avoidance. However this expertise is not necessary in the running of an established health and safety programme.

Training for the incumbent is achieved by a number of routes, the principal one of which is attendance at a recognised introductory course for health and safety. In addition training needs, as they arise or are identified, are satisfied within the limits of the Group’s resources. In such cases training is often extended across more than one financial year. Advantage is taken of courses organised by the NODA Area Committee, ROSPA and so on.

All training is recorded and regularly monitored as part of the annual audit arrangements.

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3. Fire Safety

We address and carry out our duties and responsibilities on fire safety in all our activities in a proper manner.

We provide information on and training in and rehearsal of fire safety procedures in the following areas of our activities:

New members

New members are provided with written information on fire safety in the joining pack that is given to them by the Membership Secretary* when they are accepted as members of the group.

* In all cases where the Health and Safety Officer is written in this procedure, the full text is “The Health and Safety Officer or person deemed in charge of operation in hand”.

Existing members

Existing members are provided with information on the updates to fire safety procedures that are prepared either as a result of the annual audit or on recommendations made either by the local fire safety officer or following any incident that found the existing procedures to be inadequate.

Visitors

Visitors are instructed verbally in the fire safety precautions by the Health and Safety Officer* of the group who informs them of the fire safety drill, instructs them to sign the register (see also shows them the fire exits and the assembly point to be used in the event of an incident.

Sub-Contractors

Sub-Contractors are instructed verbally in the fire safety precautions by the Health and Safety Officer* of the Group who informs them of the fire safety drill, instructs them to sign the register, shows them the fire exits and the assembly point to be used in the event of an incident.

Procedures within the Theatre Rooms

The Health and Safety Officer is responsible for ensuring that:

  • From time to time, reminding all persons in the building of the need to remain alert to the potential of a fire and what they must do in the case of an outbreak or rehearsal for such an outbreak
  • Marked exits are kept clear of all obstructions such as chairs, boxes etc. He/she shall remind members of their duties in this regard and that they shall assist in these activities
  • Marked fire exits are unlocked during the time that the premises are occupied
  • A count of attendees is taken to ensure that all in attendance have signed the register
  • A record is kept of the location of the nearest telephone to be used in the case of an emergency and/or that at least two members are nominated as having a mobile telephone to hand to be used in the case of an emergency
  • Frequent checks to ensure that the fire extinguishers are still inside their expiry date and that arrangements are made to have out-of date fire extinguishers either changed or serviced as soon as possible after their expiry date(s)
  • Fire drills are carried out at irregular intervals and that all persons present shall treat the fire drill in a proper manner and assemble at the nominated fire assembly point
  • In the case of an actual emergency nominate a person, normally other than him/herself to contact the fire brigade and receive feedback from that nominated person that contact with the fire brigade has been made
  • Remove the register during a fire drill or actual emergency and carry out a check of all attendees on it so as to account to the fire brigade for any missing persons and their possible location.

FIRE PROCEDURE

In case of fire the following should be followed:

Performance

The House Manager is responsible for bar area, bar, kitchen, box office and general office.

Stage Manager is responsible for stage, wings, rear corridor, workshop, wardrobe, dressing room and green room.

Senior Technical Team member responsible for technical box and rear staircase.

In the event of a fire the person responsible for the outbreak location shall raise the alarm.

Evacuation from each area is the responsibility of each appointed member.

Points of evacuation are to be decided by each appointed members subject to location of fire.

No attempt to fight the fire should be made unless it is safe to do so.

Danger is not only from flames but also from heat, smoke, harmful gases and lack of oxygen.

If evacuation has occurred no one is to re-enter the building.

Assembly point will be on the road at front of the building.

The House Manager should summon the Fire Brigade as soon as fire is detected even if the fire has been put out.

Each area appointed member should make checks.

If anyone is thought to be still inside the building the Fire Brigade should be informed immediately.

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4. First Aid

The Group takes First Aid seriously.

The policy of the Group is prevention of accidents in the first place. To this end it regularly through its Health and Safety Officer carries out checks of equipment, procedures and practices to ensure that they are being conducted in a safe manner and in accordance with procedures set down in other documentation in this manual.

Note: Reference in this text to Health and Safety Officer means “The Health and Safety Officer or person deemed in charge of operation in hand. Such nominated representative(s) are recorded.

The Group has a permanent first aid kit that meets the requirements of content and size for the number of group members. The first aid kit is kept at the following locations:

  • In wings adjacent to exit door
  • Workshop

A record is kept of the location of the nearest telephone to be used in the case of an emergency and/or that at least two members are nominated as having a mobile telephone to hand to be used in the case of an emergency.

Details of any incident that requires first aid, however trivial, are recorded in the accident book by the Health and Safety Officer. The entries into the accident book shall be made by the Health and Safety Officer only (the definition relating to person deemed in charge of operation in hand does not apply in this case). He/she shall take statements from the victim and any witnesses that shall be signed by them and will then be appended to the appropriate page(s) in the accident book.

Note: The accident book is a specially prepared and bound document with consecutively numbered and referenced pages such that any torn out pages can be easily detected.

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5. Attendance Requirements

The Group recognises that not all of its members are able to attend. It encourages members to notify the Director/Production Manager, at least by telephone that they will not be able to attend a rehearsal.

The Group instructs its Director to provide to the Production Manager a detailed rehearsal schedule that includes the names or characters of the production that will be required to attend the particular rehearsal.

Members are required to attend all rehearsals for which they are called except when they have notified the Director/Production Manager as indicated above.

Members are required to sign the register.

Members who have to leave the rehearsal early are required to notify the Director/Production Manager and sign out so as to avoid any confusion over who is or isn’t in the building should an emergency occur.

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6. Rehearsal requirements

 

The Director/Production Manager appointed for any specific production is responsible for ensuring that props, staging and other stage furniture are safe for use.  As necessary, the Health and Safety Officer or his/ her nominated representatives instruct such Directors in their duties in this regard.  Records of such instructions are kept by the Health and Safety Officer or his/ her nominated representatives.

Members are instructed to attend rehearsals wearing suitable loose fitting clothing and footwear that is non-slip for general duties. For some productions all or some of the cast will be required to wear special footwear such as tap shoes. In these circumstances they will instructed to put such footwear on only for the duration of their need for rehearsal purposes.

Members are instructed to know the location of all the fire extinguishers, the fire exits and the assembly point(s).

Members are instructed to obey fire drill instructions.

Members are instructed to register their attendance (see section 20) and, in those cases when they need to leave the rehearsal early to sign-out as well.

Members are instructed not to park in front of fire exits or place any obstruction in front of fire exits, outside or inside the building.

Members are instructed to work safely with props and to refuse to use any that are, in their opinion, unsafe.

Members are instructed on how to use equipment that requires them to work above floor level. In particular they are reminded that it is forbidden to stand on makeshift rostra such as plastic nesting chairs or fold-up tables.

No members to use rostrum, raised staging, steps etc. unless final approval has been given by the set construction team.

Details of any accident, however trivial, are recorded in the accident book by the Health and Safety Officer. Entries into the accident book shall be made by the Health and Safety Officer only (the definition relating to person deemed in charge of operation in hand does not apply in this case). He/she shall take statements from the victim(s) and any witnesses that shall be signed by them and appended to the appropriate page(s) in the accident book.

Note: The accident book is a specially prepared and bound document with consecutively numbered and referenced pages such that any torn out pages can be easily detected.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand are responsible, if applicable, for liaising with the Technical Stage Manager, to set-up the line of responsibility for safety in the building and to persons and to identify any particular hazardous areas or situations that need to be addressed. As agreed by this liaison, the nominated person informs the cast and back stage crew of all safety matters that need to be notified to them.

Members are instructed on the location of the first aid kit(s).

Members are told the location of the nearest landline telephone connection in or adjacent to the theatre or other buildings

Members are shown the location of fire extinguishers, fire exits and assembly points and the location of the first aid kit(s).

When rehearsals are carried out in different locations, i.e. Cantley House Rose Street, the Director responsible for the production is to avail himself of all rules and regulations, including fire safety requirements, of the premises and to impart these to those attending rehearsals.

All caveats included in this section are also applicable in locations other than Wokingham Theatre.

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7. Get-In/Get-Out arrangements

Get-In Arrangments

Front of House Team/Auditorium/Hall

The front of house team is managed by a Society-appointed Front of House Manager who liaises with the theatre staff to ensure that each has identified themselves to each other and each party has understood the respective roles of the parties concerned.

The Front of House Manager is responsible for ensuring they are made aware of the duties expected of them and that the fire rules etc have been shown to them.

The front of house team is responsible for ensuring that the theatre patrons have valid tickets and where necessary are referred to the box office in the case of difficulty. They are also responsible for the sale of raffle tickets, refreshments and programmes.

The front of house team is responsible for conducting theatre patrons to their seats in a safe and courteous manner. They are instructed to exercise special care in this responsibility in areas where the seating and gangways are steeply raked and/or the areas are dimly lit and when patrons are infirm or disabled.

In the case if emergencies, the front of house team have been instructed to act in a responsible manner in accordance with the procedures set out in section 3 Fire Safety.

Stage

The Stage Manager (SM) is responsible for ensuring that the stage crew, sub contractors, prompt and properties work in a safe manner, with regard for the safety of persons and property around them and for ensuring that they follow the procedures.

The stage crew, sub-contractors, prompt and properties are instructed in the application and fulfillment of the procedures referred to in Stage paragraph 1 by the Health and Safety Representative, or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand, and for ensuring that they work in safe manner with regard to the safety of persons or property and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment and personal tools for the task(s) being carried out.

On Stage and in the Wings

The Stage Manager is responsible for ensuring that procedure (Onstage and in the wings) is understood and practiced by the persons to whom it applies.

The Nominated Health and Safety Representative or the person deemed in charge of operation is responsible for ensuring that all persons to whom the procedure applies have been instructed in its use or application.

Dressing Rooms

The Stage Manager is responsible for ensuring that procedures (Dressing Rooms) and (Children) are properly understood and carried out by the persons concerned.

Get-Out Arrangments

Front of House Team/Auditorium/Hall

The front of house team is responsible for the safe exit of theatre patrons after each performance. To ensure the safe and efficient exit of patrons, the front of house team shall take care of the increased risks of raked floors, dimly lit areas and the special precautions that need to be taken with infirm or disabled persons.

Stage

The requirements set out in Stage above shall be followed.

Dressing Rooms

The requirements set out in Dressing Rooms above shall be followed.

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8. Using Sub-contractors

We address and carry out our duties and responsibilities when using or hiring subcontractors in a proper manner. We use in our dealings with sub-contractors the key target areas for sustainable improvements in health and safety of:

  • Commitment
  • Competence
  • Co-operation
  • Communication

Commitment

Our commitment is that of ensuring through our Nominated Health and Safety Representative that all procedures pertinent to sub-contractors are notified to them and that they have been properly inducted into the use of those procedures. The Nominated Health and Safety Representative or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand, carries out these inductions and a record is kept of them.

Competence

A risk assessment is carried out jointly by the sub-contractor(s) and the Nominated Health and Safety Representative or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand, is to ensure that any risks specific to the operations of the sub-contractor are properly and fully documented and procedures put in place to minimise any hazards identified during the risk assessment.

Sub-contractors are instructed to work in accordance with the appropriate procedures given in the Society’s Health and Safety Manual. In addition relevant information given in the Health and Safety Executive’s Information Sheets covering outside events, violence, effects of smoke and vapor and working with animals is followed.

Sub-Contractors are instructed verbally in the fire safety precautions by the Nominated Health and Safety Representative or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand, who informs them of the fire safety drill, instructs them to sign the register and shows them the fire exits and the assembly point to be used in the event of an incident.

Where access and egress are considerations then procedures are established to ensure that they are wide enough (to permit escape of persons in the event of an emergency and to permit equipment to be brought in and taken out of the area safely), are kept free of obstructions and debris, are adequately illuminated and, where necessary, provided with secure handrails and/or barriers.

Co-operation

Regular review and close control of the activities of the Sub-Contractors whilst hired and/or used by the Group is carried out by the Nominated Health and Safety Representative or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand. Likewise members of the Group who need to work closely with any Sub-Contractor(s) is/are informed of the duties that such Sub-Contractors will carry out. They are encouraged to be helpful and cooperative to them during the execution of their duties.

Communication

The text as described in “commitment” above equally applies to this sub clause.

In addition the following important items, as applicable, are explained in detail to the Sub-Contractors, as applicable by the Nominated Health and Safety Representative or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand.

All hazards, as identified by the risk assessment and as appropriate, associated with:

Accessibility – Avoidance of blocked exits, locked exits, absence of handrails, sufficient illumination, falling objects etc.

Fire and Emergency situations – information on location of extinguishers, alarm signal types and the noise they make, assembly points, evacuation routes etc.

Working at heights and temporary structures – ensuring that persons are willing to work at heights, adequate guard rails, use of safety harness, ensuring that scaffolding, access towers etc are stable and sound, provision of kick boards and/or nets, safe means of access and egress.

Exposure to crowd disorder and personal violence – caused by drunkenness or attempts to steal property, hostile authorities, under influence of drugs, conflicts with other sub-contractors, use of security staff, use of a “fixer”, limiting /hiding exposure of steal able equipment etc.

Wind and other conditions -see working at heights.

Noise and vibration – working within the present limits of the Noise at Work

Regulations which states maximum noise limit of 85 dB(A) coupled to an exposure time limit, provision of ear defenders and/or sound excluding headphones, working to the present vibration limits in terms of amplitude, frequency and length of exposure on hand/arm and whole body vibration.

Smoke and vapor effects – ensuring that suppliers of materials give details of the hazards that may occur from the use of their products, be aware of the possibility of choking/asphyxiation due to high concentrations of the product, toxic substances in the smoke/vapor, reduced visibility when in use, induced slipperiness to floors etc when in use etc.

Animals – be aware of personal phobias, infections or worse from bites, disposal of excreta, the welfare of the animals etc.

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9. Dressing Rooms

Cleanliness

The Society works on the premise that clean dressing rooms make for pleasant surroundings and a disease-free environment for its members.

It details one senior member placement to ensure that each dressing room is cleaned before use, cleaned before each performance and is cleaned at the conclusion of the run of performances.

Particular attention is given to the following points:

  1. Cleanliness of Sanitary Appliances
  2. Towel replacement (paper or cloth)
  3. Provision of soap, sanitary towels (and their safe disposal) and toilet paper
  4. Cleanliness of hand basins dirtied by washed-off make-up
  5. Emptying of waste and litterbins
  6. Collection and disposal of bottles, sandwich wrappings and empty takeaway cartons
  7. Provision of clothing rails and coat hangers and ensuring that all costumes are placed on hangers on rails after each performance
  8. The retention of name labels so that they can be replaced on the correct costumes for return to hirer
  9. The safe storage of costume packing cases and the prevention of their use as seats during the performances
  10. The separation of the make-up area from the costume hanging area

Allocation of Dressing Rooms and Artistes

The Stage Manager is responsible for the allocation of dressing rooms to the acting members of the Society. He/she records the location of all acting members so that, in the event of an emergency, it can be confirmed that all members have been accounted for should the necessity arise that the building must be evacuated.

Alcohol

The Society bans the consumption of excessive alcohol in any form backstage.

Horseplay

The Stage Manager is to ensure that there is no horseplay in the dressing rooms.

Tannoy

Members are responsible for confirming with the stage manager that the system is working and is audible above normal dressing room hubbub and for reporting any faults for attention to the stage manager as appropriate.

Stairs/Outside Access

Where access or egress into or from dressing rooms requires cast to use stairs or outside areas then certain provisions are made.

Outside Access – the Society erects suitable protective coverings when outside access is necessary to protect persons and costumes from inclement weather and provides temporary lighting during darkness.

Leave Nothing but Your Thanks

The Society instructs all its members to observe the rule “Leave nothing but your thanks” when using dressing rooms provided either by the Society or the hirers of the facility.

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10. Children

 

For the purposes of this procedure, the Group defines a child as a person aged from 5 to 18 years of age.

This procedure applies both to situations in which children and adults are involved in the activity and to those in which children are solely involved.

The Group’s Health and Safety Policy and the actions and responsibilities contained in its Health and Safety Manual shall apply to children.

Although the Health and Safety Officer is responsible overall for the fulfillment of the Group’s Health and Safety Policy, he/she may, at his/her discretion, appoint a specific person or persons to oversee the Health and Safety of Children as defined above.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand is responsible for ensuring that children either in rehearsal, on-stage, in dressing rooms or engaged on Group related activities are inducted into their duties and responsibilities, trained to carry out their duties and responsibilities to the best of their abilities, protected from hazardous situations that might affect their overall safety and instructed in the protection of property.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand instructs adults in the Group to the need for them to exercise special care and attention when performing with children, respect the limits of their physical powers and note the length of their concentration period.

The Group applies the recommendations in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association’s fact sheets entitled Model Child Protection Policy and Children in Theatrical Performances,  copies of which are attached to this procedure as Annexes A and B respectively.

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11. On-stage and in the wings

The Group recognises that the stage and its wings can be hazard areas in which tripping over electrical cables and inadequate lighting. Consequently it instructs its Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand to ensure that he/she has carried out a proper risk analysis of the activities and situations that present themselves or could present themselves in the areas concerned. The Risk Assessment is carried out using the criteria for risk assessment value given in section 17 and is retained as a separate record for future reference.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand ensures that all persons who are required to be in the wings or on-stage before, during and after a performance have been properly instructed in their responsibilities.

The Stage Manager ensures that performers are properly instructed in their proper response/reaction to:

  • This is your 5-minute call!
  • Beginners on stage please!
  • Not remaining in the wings when not on cue for going on stage unless space available
  • Black outs
  • Scene changes
  • Use of properties
  • n very seriously
  • The authority of the Stage Manager

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12. Front of House

 

The Group recognises that its front of house team could be subject to hazards in the fulfillment of their duties whilst in the theatre. The Group also recognises that the responsibility for ensuring the safety of its front of house team may jointly or separately rest with the management of the Theatre or other relevant venue.

Front of House Manager and Team must:

  • Have been made aware of their responsibilities in matters of health and safety at the venue owned by the Group.
  • Have been advised of the procedures that they should follow in the event of an incident such as an outbreak of fire, first aid emergency etc.
  • Have been made aware of the location of the nearest telephone, the location of the fire extinguishers, the route to be used in the event of the need to evacuate the building, the procedures to be used to evacuate patrons in the event of an emergency and the location of the assembly point(s).

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand is responsible for ensuring that the front of house team are trained to carry out their duties and responsibilities to the best of their abilities, are protected from hazardous situations that might affect their overall safety and are instructed in the protection of persons and property as it affects their duties front of house.

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13. Liaisons

 

The Group recognises that all or some of its members may, from time to time, be required to liaise with the personnel of other groups, theatres or other performing venues, rehearsal premises, organised social events and other venues and situations.

Where specific personnel are required to liaise with established clientele then the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand is responsible for ensuring that such liaisons follow an agreed procedure where health and safety matters are involved. These procedures not only cover those required under the Group’s own Health and Safety procedures but also those of the other party/parties concerned.

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14. Tallescopes, Ladders and Scaffolding

 

The Group recognises that nominated and approved members of the Group will be required to work with all or some of the access and working at height equipment either provided at the performance venue, hired in for the performance or belonging to the Group or one of its members.

The Group is aware that one of the major causes of injury is falls from height. It therefore has a rigid procedure covering the inspection and use of access and working at height equipment and for the training of its personnel in the use of such equipment.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand is responsible for ensuring that:

  • The equipment provided for their use in the theatre or other venue, hired in by the theatre or other venue or the Group, or provided by the Group, or provided by a member of the Group, is suitable for use and carries the appropriate certification both for its authenticity and serviceability.
  • That Group personnel have been trained in the use of the equipment including the knowledge that ladders are for access only and shall not be used as work stations, tallescopes shall be used for both access and work stations but require to be anchored or braked when personnel are ascending, working or descending, and scaffolding is the best means for working at heights but that suitable barriers of a height of at least 0.9m need to be placed around the perimeter of the working area to prevent falls of personnel and toe boards used to prevent falling of objects and tools from the scaffolding.
  • That access to the working area is denied to non-approved personnel.
  • That the equipment whether owned by the venue, hired in or provided by theGroup meets the minimum requirements as laid down in the respective British or European Standard.
  • Hazards of the working stage, flies, scene dock and wing areas
  • The traditional superstitions that pervade the theatrical fraternity that are take

Hard hats will be made available for occasions that warrant their use.

Suitable footwear should be worn at all times.

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15. LOLER Requirements (The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998)

 

The Group recognises that certain aspects of LOLER refer to their activities as an amateur theatrical group.

As appropriate, the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand ensures that persons who are members of the Group or who are employed as sub-contractors by it engaged in lifting operations as defined in the regulations, are aware of or carry out, as appropriate, the following precautions:

Eliminate risks associated with the defined equipment in use as a first priority.

In cases where the risk cannot be fully eliminated other measures are taken to reduce the risk to a minimum and personnel are warned of the residual risks in the use of the equipment. Such measures shall be reduced by the use of appropriate guarding (fixed or removable), the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and the equipment carries suitable warning signs.

Safe systems of work shall be documented and followed by the personnel concerned and, as appropriate, personnel receive training in the use and understanding of the safe systems of work.

That the equipment is used for the purpose intended and that its capacity to carry a load is not exceeded when in use.

The Group recognises that a wide range of equipment comes under the jurisdiction of the regulations such as: Eye Bolts, Chains, Ropes, Gin Wheels, Elevating Platforms etc.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand is responsible for ensuring that equipment under the jurisdiction of the regulation, whether owned by the Group or the personal property of the person(s) using it, are:

  • Of adequate strength and stable for the intended use
  • Positioned and installed to minimise risks
  • Marked to indicate safe working loads
  • Persons are properly trained in its use
  • Used safely (the work is organised and carried out by competent persons)
  • Given on-going examination by competent persons
  • Suitable for use (used for its proper purpose, used under the conditions it should be used, conforms to any relevant European Directive in regard to CE marking, such as covered by the Machinery Directive, Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive etc)
  • Maintained so as to be safe and not put persons’ health at risk
  • Keeping a log of the maintenance and inspections carried out
  • Inspected before first use and inspected and records kept at frequencies which match its risk, by competent persons
  • Persons shall not be permitted to walk under a lifted load or the load transported over a person

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16. PUWER Requirements(The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998)

 

The Group recognises that certain aspects of PUWER refer to their activities as an amateur theatrical group.

As appropriate, the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand ensures that persons who are members of the Group or who are employed as sub-contractors by it who need to use equipment as defined in the regulations, are aware of or carry out, as appropriate, the following precautions:

Eliminate risks associated with the defined equipment in use as a first priority. In cases where the risk cannot be fully eliminated other measures are taken to reduce the risk to a minimum and personnel are warned of the residual risks in the use of the equipment. Such measures shall be reduced by the use of appropriate guarding (fixed or removable), the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and the equipment carries suitable warning signs.

Safe systems of work shall be documented and followed by the personnel concerned and, as appropriate, personnel receive training in the use and understanding of the safe systems of work.

That the equipment is used for the purpose intended.

The Group recognises that a wide range of equipment comes under the jurisdiction of the regulations such as: Staple Guns, Electric Screwdrivers, Electric Saws, Electric Drills, Hammers, handsaws etc.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand is responsible for ensuring that equipment under the jurisdiction of the regulation, whether owned by the Group or the personal property of the person(s) using it, are:

  • Of adequate strength and stable for the intended use
  • If applicable, positioned and installed to minimise risks
  • Persons using the equipment are properly trained in its use
  • Used safely (the work is organised and carried out by competent persons)
  • Given on-going examination by competent persons
  • Suitable for use (used for its proper purpose, used under the conditions it should be used, conforms to any relevant European Directive in regard to CE marking, such as covered by the Machinery Directive, Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive etc)
  • Maintained so as to be safe and not put persons’ health at risk
  • Keeping a log of the maintenance and inspections carried out
  • Inspected before first use and inspected and records kept at frequencies which match its risk, by competent persons

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17. Risk Assessment

 

Our approach to risk assessment is based on a simple process that examines the hazards and risks associated with our activities, be they in rehearsal, in the theatre or hall or elsewhere.

Firstly, we distinguish between a hazard and a risk by using and applying the definitions given below.

Hazard

A hazard is its potential to cause harm. It may cause you to cough, feel heat, kill you etc.

Risk

A risk is the likelihood that it will harm you in the actual circumstances presented by the hazard.

This depends on:

  • the hazard(s) that have been identified
  • how it (they) is (are) controlled
  • who is exposed
  • their involvement at the time

Risk assessment

The examination of a series of situations to determine each situation’s potential to do harm.

We look at the hazard/risk situations in terms of probability and severity.

Any risk has a probability and a severity.

We categorise probability as being:

A

Always happens

B

Nearly always happens

C

Often Happens

D

Doesn’t happen very often

E

Hardly ever happens

We categorise severity as being:

1

Death

2

Severe Injury

3

Serious Injury

4

Minor Injury

5

Little effect

Clearly what is meant by the terms used is subjective but the intention is to give a series of yardsticks that can be used to further the investigation.

We examine each situation where there is a hazard/risk situation to a person or property and apply a probability factor from A to E and a severity factor from 1 to 5 to each of them as a probability/severity factor in the following form:

Example: Probability and Severity = Probability/Severity Factor A4

Each situation and its assessed probability/severity factor are recorded in the risk assessment register.

We rank any assessed probability of A to C and any assessed severity of 1 to 3 as significant and apply corrective measures to minimise their occurrence. This means that any probability/severity factor from A1 to C3 requires action on our part by the use of a variety of remedies. Depending on the circumstances of the situation these remedies could be re-design, protection, training, warning signs etc.

The measures and remedies taken are recorded in the risk assessment register.

We rank any assessed probability of D to E and any assessed risk of 4 to 5 as not being significant and only apply remedial measures where necessary. These remedial measures would be of an insignificant nature. However should the occurrences suggest that the probability/severity factor needs amending, we carry out a further risk assessment as detailed above to establish whether the probability/severity factor needs to be re-classified.

All such analyses and amendments are recorded in the risk assessment register.

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18. New Recruits

 

The Group recognises that new recruits are particularly at risk, especially those who have not belonged to an amateur theatrical group before.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand, in conjunction if applicable with other specific members of the Group with particular experience or knowledge in the particular subject matter concerned, carries/carry out an induction course that covers, at least:

  • The Group’s Health and Safety General Policy Statement
  • Fire Safety
  • First Aid
  • Attendance requirements
  • Rehearsal requirements
  • Get-in/get-out arrangements
  • Dressing rooms
  • On stage and in the wings
  • Safe systems of working
  • Sign/Sign out
  • Accident book 

For certain members, such as children, those engaged in backstage activities or front of house duties also receive as appropriate induction training in:

  • Children
  • Front of House
  • Liaisons
  • Working with theatre staff
  • Tallescopes, ladders and scaffolding
  • LOLER and PUWER requirements
  • Electrical safety 

The Group ensures that recruits who have had some or considerable experience of amateur theatre, in that they have been or are still members of other Groups, receive the same induction training as new recruits, in order that the requirements of its Health and Safety General Policy Statement are fulfilled.

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19. Safe Systems of Working

 

The Group recognises that its main activity is that of preparing for and performing amateur theatrical productions and is very aware that members are often working under pressure and time restraints to put on a production.

The Group utilises the procedures laid down in this manual as the means to ensure that all members adhere to a safe system of working.

In those instances where unsafe systems of working have been identified or an incident has occurred which suggests that its cause was an unsafe system of working, the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand investigates the cause(s) and institutes procedures to minimise the risk of it occurring again.

Where deemed necessary, such as in cases of horseplay, inebriation, drug taking, incompetence etc., incidences of unsafe systems of working identified as having been caused by one of the example conditions given above, are brought to the attention of the board for further action. Such incidences are treated very seriously by the Group.

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20. Sign-in Sign-out

The Group uses a sign-in and sign-out register for both performance/rehearsals and set building.

The register contains the name of each member in alphabetical order by surname and carries the time and date.

Each member is required to use his/her normal signature to sign-in and sign-out.  Sub-contractors, such as orchestra, lighting, sound personnel etc. are also instructed to sign-in and sign-out.

Responsibility for ensuring signing in is:

set building

each individual

rehearsals

director/producer

performance

front of house
house manager
backstage
stage manager

technical box               

lead technician

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21. Accident Book

The Group uses the Health and Safety Executive’s Accident Book B1 510 to record all incidents that happen during events that are organised by the Group and in which members of the Group participate.

Incidents are recorded which involve a member of the Group, a sub-contractor or members of the public at any event organised by the Group.

Each complete accident book is numbered starting from 01.

Each book is maintained and stored by the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand when not in use.

The current book accompanies the Health and Safety Officer or his/her nominated representative to each function organised by the Group in which Group members participate.

Each report is numbered above the tear-off point and with the same number on the actual record.

The report is completed, where possible by the person to whom the incident occurred. In cases where the injuries make it impossible for the person to whom the incident occurred to make the entry, then a competent bystander is required to complete the details required of the report.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand tears off the record and files it away in a safe location.

In those cases where the accident is considered to be reportable under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences regulations 1995) then the Health and Safety Officer or his/her nominated representative completes Form: F2508 (HSE form entitled: Reporting of an injury or dangerous occurrence).

The Group reports accidents in accordance with RIDDOR that involve:

  • Death or major injury
  • Fractures (other than to fingers, thumbs or toes)
  • Amputations
  • Dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine
  • Loss of sight (temporary or permanent)
  • Chemical or hot metal burns
  • Injury resulting from electric shock or electrical burns leading to unconsciousness or requiring resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
  • Injuries leading to hypothermia, heat induced illness or requiring resuscitation or requiring admission to hospital for more than 24 hours
  • Unconsciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to a harmful substance or biological agent
  • Acute illness requiring medical treatment, or loss of consciousness arising from absorption of any substance by inhalation, ingestion or through the skin
  • Acute illness requiring medical treatment where there is reason to believe that this resulted from exposure to a biological agent or its toxins or infected material
  • Any injuries to people not at a function organised by the Group as a result of an accident “arising out of or in connection with the function organised by the Group”, where they are taken to hospital from the scene of the accident.

Reportable accidents are notified to the Local Authority, within 10 (ten) days of the occurrence by the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand

Records of reportable accidents are maintained and kept by the Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand for at least 3 (three) years after the incident in a form that is easily and quickly retrievable for those in authority that need or wish to see the report.

(Accident Book B1 510 is available to purchase from HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, SUDBURY, Suffolk CO10 2WA. Tel: 01787 881165, Fax: 01787 313995 www.hsebooks.co.uk)

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22. Electrical Safety

The Group has identified four categories of electrical equipment that are subject to its procedures under electrical safety

Fixed Equipment

only removable if the fixings are removed

Transportable Equipment

normally spends its time in one place but can be moved when the need arises viz refrigerator

 

Portable Equipment

movable from its location viz computer, kettle

Hand Held Equipment

electric drills etc

All electrical equipment owned by the Group, hired or the personal property of a member of the Group used on Group activities is subject to annual inspection and testing by a competent authority. At the conclusion of each inspection and test the said equipment is then labeled to show its inspected status. The label includes the name or mark of the inspecting authority, the date that the test was carried out and the date for the next inspection together with the signature of the tester.

Any equipment that fails to pass the inspection is removed and quarantined to prevent use.

Equipment is stored and maintained in a safe working condition between inspections.

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of operation in hand keep records of all inspections together with a record of each individual piece of equipment.

Each piece of equipment is given an identifying reference that is permanently affixed to the piece of equipment.

In those cases where it would be uneconomic to employ an outside body to perform the inspections the Group uses the following procedure:

  • Ensures that inspections are carried out by a technically qualified member of the Group
  • Disconnects the equipment and checks that such disconnections do not affect other equipment or cause the disconnected equipment being inspected to fail
  • Checks any flex or trailing leads for good condition
  • Checks the plug for security of cable to plug, no signs of overheating, no signs of damage and can continue to be used with safety
  • Does the equipment work, can it be switched on and off properly, no signs of damage and can it be used safely?
  • As required perform an earth leakage/continuity test and check that the impedance between the earth pin and the metal case of the appliance is less than 0.1 ohm
  • As required, perform an insulation test. However electronic components can be damaged in this situation. The Group therefore favours and uses a visual inspection to confirm this test. If in doubt it uses the services of an outside competent body
  • Sockets are checked for signs of overheating, loose connections and an earth impedance test is carried out in accordance with the current IEE Wiring Regulations

Attention is drawn to the Group’s Standard for All Technicians Schedule, which should be used and acted upon in conjunction with this section.

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23. Annual Audit

The Health and Safety Officer or the person deemed in charge of the operation in hand (The HSO) carries out an annual audit of the safety manual and the procedures contained in it with the objective of checking that the contents are relevant.  Audits also include examination of records and interviews with Group members.

The HSO the results of the audit.

The HSO agrees a plan of action, if necessary with other Group members, to deal with the points revealed in the audit.

The HSO keeps a constant eye on the feed back from the audits in order to maintain a high profile on the need to make the amendments as revealed in the audit.

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24. Safe methods of working for Wokingham Theatre

Lone Worker

Lone working within the theatre building is not encouraged by the Group but it accepts that by the nature/regime of the theatre and its members this is inevitable.

To reduce the risk against the likely hazards the following should be adhered to by each person.

  • To have no medical condition which makes them unsuitable for working alone.
  • Tasks intended to be carried out are within the competence, training and skill of that person.
  • Person to advise  a telephone contact of his/her intentions.
  • Task to be within capabilities of one person.
  • No ladder work to be carried out unless of nominal height (feet 1.0 metre off ground).
  • All lifted scenery, items, props etc. to be within the capability of the lone worker (maximum lift weight 20kg).
  • If the lone worker has any doubts as to his/her fitness/condition when carrying out his/her task they are to cease immediately.

 

LADDERS AND STEP LADDERS

The following are the working practices for ladder and stepladders.

For more detailed information on their use and working at height please be familiar with the following included in HSE documents:

  • Safe use of ladders and stepladders.
  • The work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended) – a brief guide.
  • Working at heights in the broadcasting and entertainment industries.

Leaning Ladders

Set Up
  • Check all ladders prior to new stage set construction (including ladder feet).
  • Secure ladder.
  • Ensure feet are firmly and evenly grounded.
  • Do not locate ladder on sloping surface.
  • Ensure upper resting point is firm and strong.
  • Ensure floor bearing is clean and dry (i.e. not slippery).
Usage
  • Maximum of 30 minutes work when on ladder.
  • Use only for light work – maximum weight of any lifted object/tool 10kg.
  • Ladder angle – 1unit out at base, 4 units up.   e.g. 12 foot ladder should be placed 3 feet away from upper resting point in horizontal line.
  • Always grip ladder when climbing. Do not overreach, belt buckle/navel to stay within stiles.
  • Both feet to remain on same rung or step throughout task.
  • The top three rungs are not to be used as foot rests.  These are to be used only a handholds.

Step Ladders

Set Up
  • Check all steps prior to new stage set construction.
  • Ensure there is space to fully open ladder. Use any locking devices on ladder.
  • Ensure feet are firmly and evenly grounded. 
  • Do not locate ladder on sloping surface.
  • Ensure floor bearing is clean and dry (i.e. not slippery).
 Usage
  • Maximum of 30 minutes work when on ladder.
  • Use only for light work – maximum weight of any lifted object/tool –10kg.
  • Do not overreach, belt buckle/navel to stay with stiles.
  • Both feet to remain on same rung/step throughout the task.
  • Avoid side-on working.
  • Do not stand on 
    • Normal ladder – top 2 steps
    • Swing/back/double sided – top 3 steps:  unless you have a safe hand hold on the steps.

For both types of ladders

  • When working at height be certain you are happy to carry out the task and are not suffering from an ailment that will impair your safety.
  • When carrying tools, lowering/raising lights etc. ensure the area around you is clear of personnel.