Guidance on Health and Safety for Film & TV Workers during COVID-19

Posted by Grant Patten on May 15, 2020 11:04:26 AM


HEALTH & SAFETY FOR FILM & TV WORKERS DURING COVID-19Source: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1680037777, Shutterstock

The Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) has released some helpful guidelines for those in the film, TV and live performance industries who will soon be returning to production work in this COVID-19 environment. WSPS is an Ontario-focused organization, but this information could still be useful to those in other provinces or even the US as well.

Front Row Insurance is merely passing on these WSPS guidelines that might be helpful to some in planning their return to production, but please also consult an employment lawyer, public health and industry associations and government recommendations. The below is for informational purposes only and should not be considered advice.

Controls to consider for returning to production during COVID-19:

The WSPS documents have some helpful points to consider, including…

Are there tasks you can minimize or eliminate? For example, could any scenes that were planned to involve numerous people potentially be cut down to fewer people? Similarly, can scenes that involved people close together potentially be restructured to allow social distancing?

Limit entry points and control who comes onto set, who they speak to, and what they handle.

Have all crewmembers and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, before entering the set, after contact with others, and with surfaces others have touched.

Train crewmembers on COVID-19 transmission points, steps being taken to protect them, and how to protect themselves, including frequent hand sanitizing, and not touching their face.

Is there an opportunity to put barriers in place between crewmembers on set? Consider using floor markings to keep people at a safe distance apart.

Is there an opportunity to improve fresh air intake/air circulation on set?

Increase cleaning frequency – on everything from desks, seats and vehicles to commonly touched surfaces like cameras, computers, microphones, phones, door handles and switches.

Ensure laundering instructions are being followed for wardrobe.

Review sanitation practices for hair and makeup stations to avoid spreading the virus and implement new practices.

Replace buffets with wrapped food items.

Consider having personal protective equipment (PPE) for crewmembers. Some examples of PPE that may be suited to supervisors, production or operations management work include gloves, masks, goggles and/or face shields.

Review your preventative measures on an ongoing basis, and adjust them if they are not working well enough or causing other issues with your work.

COVID Guideline Documents from Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS):

The above points are selections from the WSPS documents; you are encouraged to download the full documents, linked below:

Download: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Television Hosts, Technical Crews and other TV and Film Employees during COVID-19 [PDF]

Download: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Television, Film and Live Performance Sector during COVID-19 [PDF]

NOTE: These documents are intended for informational purposes only to provide an overview of the potential hazards posed in the workplace due to COVID-19. They are not intended as medical advice, to provide a comprehensive risk assessment for all workplaces, or to replace any legislated workplace safety obligations. Due to the ongoing evolution of the situation in Ontario and around the world, these documents may be used as a guide for Employers in addition to guidance delivered by public health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” Any use which is made of these documents by any Employer, or any reliance on or decisions to be made based on them, are the responsibility of the Employer.

Good luck and take care,
The Front Row Team


Topics: Film Production, Film Producers, Film Production Companies, TV Series, COVID-19

Paddy And Nico And Key Person Insurance

Posted by Steve Beatty on Aug 7, 2015 3:47:56 PM


Britain’s Got Talent was thrown a curve ball when dance duo “Paddy and Nico” had to withdraw from the competition.

The sudden change occurred due to a rib injury sustained by Paddy during a rehearsal. Part of the novelty of the team was the fact that the female dance partner was so much older than her male counterpart. Let’s chat for a moment about all of the implications this has on event insurance and key person insurance in general.

Firstly when insuring these performers, it would have been cultureONE-image-perform-artssignificantly more expensive to cover Paddy. Aside from any age related pre-existing conditions, the risks involved in an older person dancing on a live show are far greater than those of a younger person in prime health. As we’ve seen, injuries can be serious and underwriters take this into account before ever assuming risk. With proper coverage in place, the key person insurance would have kicked in and taken care of medical expenses incurred due to Paddy’s involvement with the show.

In most cases involving key person insurance, part of the coverage is used to pay for a replacement with similar competence and experience. Since this is a reality TV show, however, replacing talent would undermine the competition element and would therefore not be possible. As a result, the duo simply withdrew from the show altogether.

While having a dance team so different in age added a fun and exciting element to the competition, it would certainly raise some red flags from a key person insurance standpoint.

Front Row Insurance Brokers Can Arrange Key Person Insurance for you. Learn More





Topics: Cast Insurance, TV Series, Event insurance, Key Person Insurance, Performance insurance

How did what happened to Sarah Jones change the film industry?

Posted by Janet Sellery on Jul 24, 2015 10:43:00 AM

Sarah Jones, Camera Assistanthow did what happened to sarah jones change film industry safety?

On February 20, 2014, Sarah Jones, a 27 year old camera assistant, was tragically killed when Midnight Rider filmmakers criminally trespassed onto live train tracks and began shooting. They did not tell their crew that they had twice been denied permission by CSX to be on the tracks; they also had no safety meeting beforehand and no medic, nor railroad personnel present on set.

Her colleagues have reflected on their role in health and safety and Dave Chameides has written a moving article: Camera Operator After ‘Midnight Rider': “Speak Loudly And Lead By Example”. Here are some excerpts: (The emphasis is mine.)

“As a camera operator with 25 years experience, I understand that it’s part of my job description to make sure that my crew and I remain safe. I’m not infallible and it’s not a job that is mine alone, but at the end of the day I know that if one of my brothers or sisters doesn’t make it home safely, I’m one of the people who dropped the ball.

And I can’t live with that.

More than a year has passed since that fateful day and I find myself thinking of Sarah Jones often. The weight of her death hangs on me, not because I knew her but because I see her on set every day.

On every set I see her because on every set I see young filmmakers hungry to prove themselves, to make their mark, to climb the ladder and live this crazy dream that we all seem so enamored with. And on every set I know that all the Sarahs look to me and others for guidance, safe in the knowledge that if we are not concerned about a particular issue than it must be OK.

But it’s not always OK.

So today I have a request. If you are an experienced industry professional, let your co-workers know that you will point out any safety issues you are aware of. Let them know it’s up to all of us to watch out for each other but that you’ll gladly speak up if they are afraid to. Let them know that set safety is portal to portal, because crew members will lose a life falling asleep at the wheel much more often than they will from of a falling piece of equipment. Let them know that what’s most important in our business is that every member of the crew arrives home safely at the end of every day.

While it’s everyone’s job to address safety concerns, these individuals may not have the confidence to speak up yet, so it falls on us, the veterans, to do that for them and lead by example. We had role models who watched out for us when our careers were just starting out and now it’s our turn to step up, regardless of where we fall on the call sheet. The simple fact that we have years in the trenches gives us the power and the responsibility to speak loudly, speak clearly, and show others that safety comes first and unsafe set practices will not be tolerated.

No one spoke up for Sarah Jones or any of her crew. Someone should have. Starting today, make sure someone does.

For Sarah.

For all the Sarahs.

For all of us.

First filmmaker ever convicted in a case involving on-set death

Director/producer/co-writer Randy Miller pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years — two years in jail, eight years probation — plus a $20,000 fine and 360 hours of community service. He also agreed not to serve as director, assistant director or supervisor in charge of safety on any film production for 10 years.

Unit production manager Jay Sedrish and first assistant director Hillary Schwartz were convicted of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter. Both were released on 10 years probation.



The Safety for Sarah movement

Safety For Sarah Logo

Safety for Sarah website

See: ‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Issues Statement From Jail – Updated

Janet Sellery

Topics: Film Production, TV Series, Public Liability Insurance for Film

Film Production Insurance and Trains: Stay on Track

Posted by David Hamilton on Feb 14, 2010 4:31:00 PM



The film production company should always advise their film insurance broker well in advance of the anticipated use of any railway cars or equipment. You should never sign a contract with respect to use of trains without first having your entertainment insurance broker review the document.

If the train is being used as a prop/set and is not in motion, then damage to the train itself would be provided under Props/Sets/Wardrobe coverage. If the train is in motion a sublimit would be in effect for physical damage to the train.

Liability coverage is provided under a Commercial General Liability policy. If you are required to indemnify the train owner, then specific coverage arrangements must be made prior to the use of the train. In order to provide a quote/coverage for Railway Cars and Equipment, please forward answers to the following:

Filmmaking on Railroads / Film Production & Trains Questionnaire:

Please provide:

  1. A copy of the railroads contractual agreement
  2. Description of scenes involving railroad equipment
  3. Dates equipment used
  4. Locations of equipment:
    1. Where is equipment stored?
    2. Where is equipment moved to? Exact street address.
    3. Where is equipment returned after use is over?
  5. Type of equipment used? Please list
  6. Activities the production company has with the equipment
  7. How many people will be "on board"?
  8. Distances and speed of equipment
  9. Any stunts? Please list. Please complete a stunt questionnaire
  10. Will main line tracks be used during filming days?
  11. Please advise how the cast, crew, equipment and public will be protected during filming

The same advice will apply no matter if you are shooting a feature film, TV series, documentary or a short film. Please contact us if you have any questions.



Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Documentary Insurance, DICE Insurance, Film Production Companies, TV Series