Last August, at the CITT (Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology) conference in Ottawa, we talked about health and safety in venues used for tours and events. Here are three points that came up during our discussion:
- Identify who has overall authority for H & S for each event. Depending on the contractual agreement, this could be either the venue or the promoter. Refer to definitions in local legislation for roles such as Employer, Owner, Constructor, Prime Contractor or Principal Contractor.
- Discuss H & S requirements during the early stage of event planning and include them in a contract rider.
- Remember, touring shows encounter different requirements around the world, ranging from non-existent to very strict. Help them understand what is required for your jurisdiction and venue.
- The person arranging the booking may have limited ties to the show on site and may not pass on info. Talk about H & S when you advance the show closer to its arrival.
- Communicate H & S info through venue technical specifications, promoter guides, advance sheets and info attached to the contract, as well as posted reminders and signage at the venue.
- When the show arrives at the venue, review H & S info with the tour manager.
- You’ve done your planning and communicated H & S requirements. What do you do when you encounter resistance?
- The person with overall authority for H & S for the event must enforce the requirements.
- Supervisors must respond as soon as an issue arises.
- This may be as simple as a reminder to put on a hard hat, or as serious as stopping the work until it is made safe or sending a worker home.
And the good news...
- Local crews are generally on board with requirements such as hard hats, safety footwear and fall protection. As more venues require them, road crews are getting used to these expectations.
- Risk assessment is becoming more common.
- Attitudes towards H & S are improving.
Venues and tours need to continue to work together to protect their people and events.
Panelists included Jim Steele (Director, Live Production and Venue Technology, Venues and Entertainment, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment), Chris Prideaux (Production Manager, Mirvish Productions), Kevin Tanner (now Technical Director at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts) and Martin P. Smith (now Production Manager, Wynford).