Three-quarters of UK film and TV crew consider workplace as unsafe, says survey

Nearly 3 quarters of UK film & TV crew said they have felt their safety or that of a colleague has been compromised at work, according to a survey.

By Mona Tabbara 21 Nov 2023

Three-quarters of UK film and TV crew consider workplace as unsafe, says survey
Mark Milsome; Cr: The Mark Milsome Foundation

All those who reported incidents asked to remain anonymous for fear of jeopardising future employment.

The foundation was set up to educate and promote health and safety practice, inspired by Mark Milsome, a camera operator who was killed when filming a car stunt in Ghana six years ago.

The survey of 733 individuals revealed a consensus that safety training and protocols need to be improved and that production companies should take ultimate responsibility for issues affecting shooting crew on a film or TV set, even when there are freelance contractors involved in the work.

Over two-thirds of survey respondents identified real concerns regarding people being promoted to positions of responsibility without adequate experience or safety qualifications.

“Key safety-critical roles must meet established standards of competency and must have objective and transparent craft-specific qualifications supported by recognised training and work experience structures,” said a statement from the foundation and Bectu.

“Basic safety training and orientation for all crew members should also be a prerequisite.”

Bectu and the foundation are calling for a commitment from the industry to ensure that everyone working on a production has completed a Level 2 Production Safety Passport, and that everyone in a supervisory role has completed a Level 3.5 Passport.

The survey also highlighted the need to address a culture of long working days, which can result in unsafe working and commuting situations. 96.3% of respondents had a 10+ hour day as their most recent experience of a normal working day, not including travel, overtime or other unpaid working time, while 49.5% of respondents had worked a day of 10-12 hours, and 46.4% had worked a day lasting 12 hours or more.

Two thirds of respondents reported that they would work longer-than-standard hours at least once a week. Approximately 80% of respondents’ daily journeys to and from work took more than one hour and more than half took longer than 90 minutes.

72% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I am sometimes so tired, that I am concerned about my safety on the road travelling to and from work, and/or the possibility that I will work in an unsafe way.”

This story originally appeared on our sister site Screen.

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