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Safety Responsibilities and Duties | 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

Safety is the responsibility of every individual engaged on a film or television production and takes precedence over expediency or short cuts. It is in the interest of high standards of safety on a set that any report of unsafe elements be welcomed as a sign of conscientiousness and professional competence. The OHSA requires workers to report any known workplace hazard to their employer or supervisor.

In most cases, as an employer or constructor, for example, it is the Producer’s responsibility to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of all workers associated with the production. In order for there to be clear reporting lines to the Producer, productions are typically structured into Departments with Department Heads.

Workers have a responsibility to work safely and in compliance with the applicable health and safety legislation. This may include reporting any known hazardous situation to his/her Department Head or the crew Health and Safety Representative. The person receiving such a report is required to inform the Production Manager. If the Production Manager is not available, then the person receiving such a report should inform an Assistant Director or any “Other Person” designated by the Producer with greater access to the Producer, of all injuries or any hazardous situations. Production Managers or Other Persons should report to the Producer so that the Producer can assess what action may be required. An Other Person could be, but is not limited to, an Assistant Director, a Department Head, the person who is overseeing the work, or the crew Health and Safety Representative.

Given the nature of the industry, some workers, particularly Department Heads and those in a creative position, can impact not only the location of production but also can impact how a production set is structured and run. Where a worker has the ability to influence the working conditions of workers in general, a heightened awareness of health and safety issues should prevail and should require that all appropriate safeguards are in place.

These workers may include, but are not limited to, a Director, Director of Photography, Production Manager, 1st Assistant Director, Location Manager, Production Designer, and other Department Heads which are listed in Appendix A – Department Heads.

Note: An Ontario Ministry of Labour Inspector may find those who direct work to be supervisors under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This determination will be based on the specific facts of the situation, and may or may not be consistent with the reporting structure or the collective agreements which exist.

Under the OHSA, a supervisor must carry out certain duties including:

  • Ensuring that a worker complies with the OHSA and regulations [section 27(1)(a)];
  • Ensuring that any equipment, protective device or clothing required by the employer is used or worn by the worker [section 27(1)(b)];
  • Advising a worker of any potential or actual health or safety dangers known by the supervisor [section 27(2)(a)];
  • If prescribed, provide a worker with written instructions about the measures and procedures to be taken for the worker’s protection [section 27(2)(b)]; and
  • Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [section 27(2)(c)].

The regulations under the OHSA, if applicable, contain additional duties of supervisors. Supervisors who have been convicted for an offence of failing to comply with their duties under the OHSA, or for a contravention of the OHSA and its regulations, may be subject to the penalties set out in section 66 of the OHSA, which may include fines of up to $25,000 and/or terms of imprisonment of up to twelve months, or both.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of safety responsibilities and duties that may apply to Workers and/or Producers who may be employers, constructors or supervisors under the OHSA. In addition, other safety recommendations are included.

Executive Producer/Producer(s)

As an employer, constructor, supervisor or worker under the OHSA, the Producer should:

  1. Provide and maintain at all workplaces any first aid supplies and services, as required under R.R.O. 1990 Regulation 1101, First Aid Requirements, as required under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 .
  2. Ensure all accidents are reported as required (i.e. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), relevant insurer and applicable union or guild etc. ).
  3. It is recommended that a Producer ensure all Workers and Producers, including out-of-town Producers and Workers, have access to and are aware of the contents of the current "Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario".
  4. It is recommended that a Producer ensure that stunts and special effects are scheduled in consideration of hours already worked, days already worked, turnaround, etc.
  5. Comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation and regulations, which may include:
  1. Ensure the implementation of reasonable safeguards to ensure the safety of all workers associated with the Production;
  2. Promote safety and provide safe working conditions;
  3. Only engage Workers and Contractors who are appropriately trained to perform their jobs;
  4. Ensure all Workers and Contractors who may be affected by a potential hazard are made aware of the existence of the hazard to which they may be exposed in the course of production, as well as other health and safety concerns;
  5. Ensure all sets and locations have been properly assessed for any potential health and safety issues and proper remedies and safeguards are implemented to deal with any of these issues. Ensure all environmental or structural hazards identified are addressed and corrected, and reported to the unions and all affected cast and crew that the safeguards have been implemented; and
  6. Ensure that crew stewards and Health and Safety Representatives are appointed by the crew or, if represented by a Union, are appointed by their Union.

Production Manager / Unit Production Manager

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the Production Manager or Other Person designated by the Producer should:

  1. Ensure a direct line of communication to the Producer(s).
  2. Comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation and regulations.
  3. Schedule stunts and special effects in consideration of hours already worked, days already worked, turnaround, etc.
  4. Report all accidents to the Producer(s) and follow up to ensure the reporting process to the WSIB, relevant insurer and applicable union or guild, etc. is completed.
  5. Use a call sheet and include safety information which should include, but may not be limited to:
  1. notification of pyrotechnics, stunts, etc.;
  2. identification of crew Health and Safety Representative(s);
  3. emergency numbers (nearest hospital);
  4. emergency personnel on set (i.e. physician, set nurse or paramedic);
  5. reference to relevant health and safety guidelines; and
  6. location of safety, fire and first aid equipment.

Director

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the Production Manager or Other Person designated by the Producer should:

  1. Require a safe working conditions on set and compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation and regulations.
  2. In conjunction with the Producer, Director of Photography, Production Manager, 1st Assistant Director, Location Manager and crew Health and Safety Representative, require that appropriate safeguards are in place.
  3. Ensure a direct line of communication to the Producer(s) and Director of Photography.

Director of Photography

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the Director of Photography or Other Person designated by the Producer should:

  1. Require safe working conditions on set and compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation and regulations.
  2. In conjunction with the Producer, Director, Production Manager, 1st Assistant Director, Location Manager and crew Health and Safety Representative, require that appropriate safeguards are in place.
  3. Ensure a direct line of communication to the Producer(s) and Director.

First Assistant Director

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the First Assistant Director or Other Person designated by the Producer should:

  1. Require safe working conditions on set.
  2. In conjunction with Location Manager, will require that appropriate safeguards are in place and that an emergency plan has been devised and communicated to the crew Health and Safety Representative and all affected parties.
  3. Schedule where possible stunts and special effects at the beginning of the shooting day.
  4. Confer and consult with the crew Health and Safety Representative and/or the Stunt Coordinator, Special Effects Coordinator, Weapons Handler, Animal Handler and Department Heads so that all reasonable safeguards are in place.
  5. Schedule time to allow the Stunt Coordinator, Special Effects Coordinator, Weapons Handler, Animal Handler and Department Heads to inform the performers and crew of safety considerations.
  6. Communicate on-set developments or potential hazards to the Producer, Production Manager and crew Health and Safety Representatives.
  7. Ensure a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the current “Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario” are available on each worksite.
  8. It is recommended that a 2-5 minute meeting with all on-set personnel be held on every day of shooting, at call time, to define health and safety issues (i.e. , everything from fire exits to smoking areas to physical stunts and mechanical, pyrotechnical effects, animals, etc .).

Location Manager

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the Location Manager or Other Person designated by the Producer should:

  1. Require that Guideline No. 33 Location Requirements as per the "Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario" are fulfilled as applicable.
  2. Inform the Producer of known environmental or structural hazards.

Department Heads

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the Department Heads or Other Person designated by the Producer should:

  1. Require that all department functions are performed in accordance with standard health and safety practices, and that all necessary precautions are observed, including the use of proper safeguards and means of personal protection, including a careful check of all new and relocated equipment before it is placed in operation.
  2. Require that any necessary safety equipment and protective devices are being used or worn.
  3. Encourage and inform their department personnel to identify possible hazards and how to avoid them.
  4. Inform their department as to the properties of any chemicals or hazardous materials stored or handled by them, and emergency procedures to be followed.
  5. Require that new personnel be made aware of department safety procedures.
  6. Insist that any injured personnel secure first aid and/or medical attention and report all injuries to the Production Manager, and the crew Health and Safety Representative.
  7. Require compliance with all the Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation and regulations.
  8. Ensure the requirements of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System , Regulation 860, (WHMIS) as made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be observed. Any worker performing activities or using materials covered by these regulations must be fully informed of all hazards.

Department Heads should, as necessary, hold informal safety meetings with work crews prior to job assignments where Workers may be exposed to hazards as well as other health and safety concerns.

These five (5) minute safety talks should demonstrate proper safety procedures required to complete the job; use safety bulletins or other handout training materials, introduce new workers to safety procedures, rules and practices, and make Workers aware of safety equipment and personal protective devices available for the job (i.e. respirators, gloves, hearing protection, etc. ).

Work/Contractor/Freelancer

Under the designation and direction of the Producer, the Worker/Contractor/Freelancer should:

  1. Work safely, follow safety procedures and take an active role in protecting themselves and all other workers affected by their undertaking.
  2. Comply with the safe work directions issued.
  3. Participate in the selection of crew stewards and Health and Safety Representatives.
  4. Comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation and regulations.
  5. Any worker who has reason to believe the physical condition of the workplace is likely to endanger his/her health may refuse to work. The worker must immediately tell the supervisor or employer that work is being refused and explain why. The supervisor or employer must investigate the situation immediately.
  6. If the refusing worker is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, the worker can continue to refuse to work. At this point the “second stage” of a work refusal begins ( see Procedure for Work Refusal, page iv).

It is in the interest of high standards of safety on the set that any report of unsafe elements be welcomed as a sign of conscientiousness and professional competence. The OHSA requires workers to report any known workplace hazard to their employer or supervisor.

Health and Safety Committee Representative

Generally, most workplaces regularly employing twenty (20) or more workers, and in the case of a construction site, regularly employing twenty (20) or more workers for a period greater than three months, are required to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee. At least half the members on the committee must be workers employed at the workplace who do not exercise managerial functions. This is a requirement of section 9 the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Such Health and Safety Committee Representatives should:

  1. Have access to and be knowledgeable of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  2. Be knowledgeable of the current "Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario".
  3. Ensure that all Workers have access to a copy of the current "Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario".

Crew Health and Safety Representative

Where a Joint Health and Safety Committee is not required, for example, at workplaces regularly employing less than twenty (20) workers but regularly more than five (5) workers, at least one health and safety representative is required. The representative should be selected by workers who do not exercise managerial functions or, where there is a trade union or trade unions representing the workers, by the trade union or trade unions.

It is recommended that the Worker Health and Safety Representative be identified on the call sheet and:

  1. Be a representative for the production crew and performers in all matters concerning safety.
  2. Have access to and be knowledgeable of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  3. Be knowledgeable of the current "Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario".
  4. Ensure that all Workers have access to a copy of the current "Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario".
  5. Ensure all sites comply with the R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 1101, First Aid Requirements, as made under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. This includes, but is not limited to, the provision of the correct size and type of first aid kit and trained first aid providers.
  6. Observe fire regulations and inform the appropriate fire department of fire effects.

Generally speaking, a health and safety representative has the same responsibilities and power as a joint committee member. These may include:

  • Identifying workplace hazards;
  • Inspecting the workplace at least once a month;
  • Being consulted about workplace testing;
  • Making recommendations to the employer; and
  • Investigating work refusals and serious accidents.

Note: A representative is entitled to be paid the regular or premium rate, whichever is applicable while carrying out inspections and investigations.

Safety Sign-off Form

The following parties acknowledge that they will be undertaking a potentially hazardous task and further acknowledge, that a full and detailed discussion with the relevant parties has taken place and that those involved are aware and agree that the necessary steps have been taken appropriate to the situation to ensure safety.

Date:  
Location:  
Details of Sequence:  
Time of Day:  


Sign Offs

a) Producer  
b) Applicable crew member (s)  
   
   

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