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Introduction | Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario

  • ISBN: 978-1-4249-9952-1
  • Issued: December 1996
  • Revised: June 2009
  • Content last reviewed: August 2010


The Film and Television Industry is a unique business. It also presents unique and unusual occupational health and safety hazards to its workers.

This fact was recognized by members of the Industry and the Ministry of Labour who came together on May 11, 1988, for the first meeting of the Ontario Film and Television Safety Committee.

This is the 5th Edition of the guidelines and replaces those originally published in November 1990, the 2nd Edition of September 1992, the 3rd Edition of March 1997 and the 4th Edition of January 1999. This edition contains 17 new guidelines covering topics such as: First Aid, Production Company Stunt Plan Review, Stunt Plan, Transportation, Railway and Railway Crossings, Camera Cars, Process Trailer and Towed Vehicles, Camera Boom Vehicles, Camera Cranes, Working at Heights, Mobile Elevating Equipment, Rigging, Hot Air Balloons, Craft Service and Food Catering, Carpentry and Woodworking, Indigenous Pests, Industrial and Construction Regulations and Post Production Facilities.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) is the primary source for the issues and information in this document. Each employer/producer, supervisor and working professional (“worker”) needs to be familiar with the provisions of the Act and the regulations that apply to film and television work environments. All of these workplace parties have responsibilities under the Act and the regulations. It is important to note that the Act considers all self-employed independent contractors to be “workers”.

In the context of film and television workplaces, inspectors with the Ministry of Labour will apply the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the relevant regulations made under the Act such as Regulations for Industrial Establishments, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Regulation , and Regulations for Construction Projects. Ministry inspectors will also be made aware of these Guidelines, but it is important to remember that their responsibility is to apply and enforce the law and they are not bound by or obliged to apply the Guidelines.

These Guidelines have been prepared by representatives of the industry on the Section 21 Committee Health and Safety Advisory for the Film and Television Industry to assist employers/producers, supervisors and working professionals in determining the ways they may best comply with their obligations under the Act and the relevant regulations made under the Act. Following the recommendations and the guidelines does not relieve the workplace parties of their obligations under OHSA . The Committee was assisted by experts in the various skills, hazards and techniques mentioned throughout this document ( see Acknowledgements, page iii).

The Guidelines recommend realistic procedures to develop methods for identifying potential hazards in our work environments, in order to increase our productivity and to protect those working in the film and television industry. Safe procedures do not involve losing the appearance of risk that can be such a vital quality of the production. These Guidelines are intended to assist people involved in the industry and not replace the laws that are in place. To determine their legal workplace duties and rights, employers/producers, supervisors and working professionals are urged to refer to the actual legislation. The Guidelines will be continually updated and augmented, to deal with the changes in the film and television field as they occur.

The Guidelines are for everyone in the film and television field. They aim to educate every worker, in all disciplines, at all levels, in the value of hazard recognition and safe working practices. Education is the foundation of any health and safety program, with knowledgeable performers, support staff, and management working together. The more workers and management know, the more effectively they can identify specific needs and issues before those issues become problems.

Safe practice in a safe environment makes for an efficient operation. At all times we must be vigilant in identifying potential hazards by being aware of where we are, what we are doing, with what and to whom. Safety is cost effective in both human and economic terms.

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