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More in this section Information for current students

Health & Safety Guides

As a Media Arts student, you’re required to take responsibility for health and safety management as an integral part of your practice work. This has important consequences for your crew, cast and anyone else involved in or affected by the work, so it is essential you have a full understanding of what is involved.

This page and the following guides have been created to assist you by outlining both the formal context for health and safety management in Media Arts and practical guidance that is directly relevant to your course work.

Our Health and Safety Policy defines how health and safety is managed in the department, so this is an important starting point. We've undertaken a series of General Risk Assessments, which identify and evaluate the range of hazards most likely to be encountered across all of the department’s work activity. A corresponding set of Work Method Statements provide instructional information on the processes that must be implemented in relation to these risk assessments.

Location filming 

For location filming, photography, sound recording, studio productions and art installations, you’ll need to do specific risk assessments and implement suitable safe working methods in your own practice work. To assist you, we've written a series of user-friendly guides about a range of production activities you’re very likely to be involved in during your course. Please see the box below to see which guides are most relevant to your course option, then download, print and keep for reference in your active production files.

The guides make reference to the Location Safety Form, which you must use for each location shoot, studio production recording or art installation. We have devised a Documentary Safety Form, which can be used instead of the regular Location Safety Forms when appropriate. 


You’ll receive formal training as an integral part of your course but you may contact  Keith Buckman, the Departmental Health and Safety Coordinator, if you have any queries about production health and safety when planning your own.


  1. Policy Statement
    1. The Department of Media Arts acknowledges its responsibilities in implementing the College Health & Safety policies and procedures at departmental level to ensure the provision of a safe working environment for staff, students, visitors and anyone involved in or affected by its work activity both on and off-campus.
    2. The Department also acknowledges its role in preparing its students for working in media practice and is committed to incorporating the essential principles of health & safety management, particularly in the context of media production, as an integral part of students’ experience throughout its practice programmes.
    3. Furthermore, the department recognizes the key themes of health and safety management in the entertainment and leisure industries, as described by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and their importance in setting out an operating framework for health & safety management in Media Arts practice work.
  2. Formal arrangements for meeting College Health & Safety standards
    1. The Head of Department is responsible to the Dean of Arts for:
      1.  Ensuring that departmental activities are conducted in accordance with College, legislative, and other formal standards and that those hazards having the potential to cause harm are risk assessed and identified controls implemented;
      2. Producing safe systems of work and the methodology for complying with this Policy, individual policies and procedures and associated formal documents within their area of responsibility;
      3.  Organising supervision to control the working environment and the maintenance of safe standards;
      4. Investigating accidents to establish causes and prevent recurrence, if necessary, with the advice and assistance of Health and Safety Office staff;
      5. The health and safety induction of new staff and students and ensuring that information, instruction and training is provided to meet individually identified needs, if necessary with the advice and assistance of a member of the Health and Safety Office;
      6. Identifying, allocating and monitoring the adequacy of the specific health and safety responsibilities of staff and students, including departmental Health and Safety Co-ordinators while ensuring their roles and responsibilities are met;
      7. Producing departmental code(s) of safe working practice and implementing them on a day-to-day basis, where identified necessary, normally by risk assessment.
      8. Reviewing the above arrangements at regular intervals, making such adjustments as may be identified necessary. 
    2. The Head of Production Facility acts as the Departmental Health & Safety Coordinator and assists the Head of Department in the execution of the above duties.
    3.  In addition to acting as the Departmental Health and Safety Coordinator, the Head of Production Facility is also responsible to the Head of Department for the line management of the practice support staff in the Media Arts Centre, including the operation of a safe working environment and practices. S/He also coordinates the support staff’s role in practice skills training, including any detailed health and safety training associated with media practice. 
    4. Members of the Media Arts Centre practice support staff are responsible to the Head of Production Facility for the operational supervision of specific areas as follows:
      • Studio Manager – Television Studio, ‘The Loft’, the Garden Lodge and any film location space temporarily designated in the Media Arts Centre
      • Digital Media Technician – Post production facilities, including the department’s media server network
      • Location Store Technician – Location filming equipment
      • Art & Design Technicians – Art Department/Production Design areas
    5. The Senior Faculty Administrator is responsible to the Head of Department for the line management of the department’s administrative staff in the Department Office and administrative area, including the operation of a safe working environment and practices.
    6. All members of Media Arts practice teaching staff are responsible for ensuring the planning of any media practice activity is properly risk assessed in order to anticipate potential hazards and ensure appropriate control measures are adopted during supervised classes, or incorporated into any location recording plan. 
    7. For student productions, particularly any involving location recording (hereafter referred to as ‘filming’ for brevity, although in actuality will include sound recording, photography, art department work, etc) , one person will always be designated as being responsible for undertaking the necessary risk assessments, seeking advice from appropriate parties including external location providers and seeking approval from their course tutor. The designated person is also responsible for ensuring the hazards and control measures are communicated to anyone involved in the recording and the control measures specified in the Location Safety Form are put into action during the period coinciding with the associated equipment loan agreement.
    8. The Department is committed to encouraging practice staff to undertake training in production risk assessment (for example the IOSH-accredited Creative Industries Safety Passport course, run by BECTU), and all staff to enable them to take on acting responsibilities such as fire marshal, first aider, workstation assessor, COSSH assessor, manual handling assessor, etc.
    9. Any matters to do with the physical environment must be referred to Facilities Management via the Senior Faculty Administrator for the Arts Building or the Head of Production Facility for the Media Arts Centre.
  3. General responsibilities of Media Arts students and staff
    1. In accordance with the College Health & Safety Policy:

      Individual members of staff and students will co-operate and comply at all times with the health and safety information, instruction and training provided and bring without delay to the attention of their line manager/department office, any hazards identified, or improvements identified necessary. They do, therefore, have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves, and of other persons whom their actions or omissions may affect. 

      All persons must co-operate with the College to enable it, or any other person, to comply with any duty or requirement imposed by health and safety legislation. Specifically, no person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions (Section 8 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974).
  4. The management of safety risk at department level
    1. All work activities undertaken in the Department will be risk assessed by appropriately trained staff in accordance with the College guidance on General Risk Assessment (GRA).
    2. Where appropriate, a more detailed risk assessment will need to be undertaken by appropriately trained staff, which will normally include such activities as manual handling, work at height and use of substances that fall within COSHH regulation.
    3. The Department offers general risk assessments for operating location filming equipment, and for some limited filming work on campus. Student filming work can be approved by the relevant practice course tutor by sending an email to the Location Store at locationsafety.media-arts@rhul.ac.uk identifying the student(s) concerned, the filming period, and the relevant GRA that covers the activity there is an electronic record to show the activity has been risk assessed. 
    4. In some instances, it may be appropriate for the practice course tutor to risk assess a set activity using the relevant Location Safety Form, and in such instances they can send this to the Location Store at locationsafety.media-arts@rhul.ac.uk identifying the students concerned, and the filming period allocated for each set task so there is an electronic record to show the activity has been risk assessed. 
    5. Most indirectly supervised filming activities, in particular film and sound recording on location, are not possible to risk assess generically owing to the extreme variability of risk involved in each case, depending on the action being filmed, the people involved or affected, and the operating environment. The Department therefore operates a policy of risk assessing either specific location shoots or production trips using the relevant Media Arts Location Safety Forms, made available to students via the ‘information for current students’ page on the Department’s website. For every planned ‘shoot’, which may in the case of documentary comprise a succession of different locations during the filming period, the student will complete the relevant type of Location Safety Form and submit it to their immediate practice course tutor for approval by email. If the course tutor approves the form, s/he will forward it to the designated Location Services email address (currently locationsafety.media-arts@rhul.ac.uk ) confirming approval and only then will the student be allowed to book location recording equipment. The Departmental Health & Safety Coordinator is available to offer specialist advice to either the student or staff member during this process, in consultation with the College Health & Safety advisers when required.
    6. Students who are expected to do location recording work will be trained in essential location assessment techniques, including safety risk assessment, as an integral part of their taught programme.
    7. The Location Safety Form process will also be used for television studio productions and contemporary art installations, other than actual taught sessions led by a member of practice teaching staff.
    8. Although it is not a course requirement, the Department operates a filming abroad policy for advanced students who, for programme content reasons, wish to film outside of the UK.
    9. Risks identified and assessed in accordance with the arrangements set out above will be managed in accordance with the performance standards and work methods defined in the set of Media Arts work method statements, published on the Media Arts Centre website. This is primarily aimed at departmental staff but includes the management of certain media practice activities that will be undertaken by students, including filming in and around motor vehicles, productions involving stunts and replica weapons, and filming with young actors. 
  5. Provision of Health & Safety information
    1. All new members of staff will as part of their first day induction meet with the Departmental Health and Safety Coordinator, who will use the College Staff Induction Checklist to ensure they receive the required health and safety induction and identify any immediate further health & safety training needs and the likely requirement for workstation assessment. 
    2. All new and returning students will receive a short initial induction talk during September induction week, drawing attention to the relevant health & safety information contained the Student Handbook.
    3. Students will receive more detailed and timely induction when they begin to use a new practice space, for example, during their first media lab or television studio class. 
    4. Students will be given training in the safe handling of production equipment as an integral part of their taught programme.
    5. The Department will also use appropriate media, including handouts, website, email and notice boards, to convey health & safety information to its students and staff in a relevant and timely manner.
    6. The Head of Production Facility will maintain for the department a record of all health & safety training delivered to students during their practice skills training.
    7. Individual members of practice teaching staff and practice support staff are responsible for recording attendance at any classes that include health & safety training using the department’s standard attendance form and forwarding completed returns to the Head of Production Facility.
    8. The Departmental Health & Safety Coordinator will maintain for the department a record of staff attendance at any health & safety training courses, including completed induction checklists.
    9. Appropriate staff members, for example the Studio Manager with regard to productions taking place in the TV Studio facilities, will also provide essential health and safety briefings to visiting persons, such as actors performing during classes and productions.
    10. The Department’s health and safety information will be reviewed annually so that current information is provided to staff and to new and returning students in September. 
    11. General Risk Assessment forms will be reviewed at regular intervals not exceeding two years and any consequent revisions to procedures and operating arrangements implemented promptly.
  6. Communication/consultation with staff on health and safety matters
    1. The Head of Department will monitor feedback from students and staff about health & safety issues by means of Student Staff Committee, course evaluations, personal complaints or expressions of concern, and other appropriate formal and informal systems, taking appropriate and timely action in consultation with relevant colleagues.
    2. The Departmental Health & Safety Coordinator will produce a brief summary report on health & safety matters for each Department Board meeting. The report will include an anonymized summary of any accidents or incidents reported in accordance with College procedures with regard to RIDDOR reporting since the previous Department Board, including a record of action taken to prevent recurrence.
    3. When relevant, the Head of Department and/or the Health & Safety Coordinator will use email circulation lists to provide timely information about new procedures and compliance requirements. 
  7. Accident/incident reporting
    1. All accidents and incidents having potential to cause harm must be reported under prevailing legislation. As the highest risk of incidence is with practice work, whether on or off campus, the Department keeps the Accident/Incident Report Forms in the cabinet next to the Location Store desk.
    2. At six monthly intervals, the Head of Department and Health and Safety Coordinator will review accident/incident reports in order to identify particular trends or patterns and agree on appropriate strategies for preventing recurrence of similar incidents.
  8. Health & safety inspections
    1. All staff and students have a part to play in monitoring the work environment in the premises managed by Media Arts. Any problems with Arts Building facilities need to be reported promptly to the Senior Faculty Administrator, and any for the Media Arts Centre premises to the Head of Production Facility, so that remedial action can be implemented.
    2. The department operates equipment that needs to be regularly inspected regularly under LOLER lifting equipment regulations. This equipment must be registered on the CRIMSON database operated by the College insurers and inspected regularly by a competent engineer at six-monthly or annual intervals, depending on specific item requirements. 
    3. The department operates a large number of portable electrical appliances. These must be PAT inspected at regular intervals (normally done annually) by the College’s appointed contractor, equipment appropriately labelled and included in the database.
    4. The department lends film production equipment for the completion of coursework via the Location Store. The Location Store technician undertakes frequent visual inspection of equipment in order to identify any faults or defects. Students are also required to inspect equipment at the time of collection as a condition of the loan agreement, and to report any faults or defects to the technician. In addition, they are required under loan agreement to report any faults or defects occurring or discovered during the loan period when the equipment is returned, so the technician can ensure the equipment is not reused until appropriate remedial action is implemented.
  9. The use of Display Screen Equipment
    1. Most Media Arts staff are likely to spend significantly longer periods than a minimum of 1 hour a week using display screen equipment. The Department recognizes that there is a high risk of occupational injury through using poorly configured workstations for prolonged periods and is therefore committed to ensuring individuals’ workstations are duly assessed by a suitably trained person and appropriate remedial action implemented in order to minimize risk of injury.
    2. Students are also at significant risk of injury when using the Media Arts Centre lab and editing facilities for prolonged post-production sessions. The facilities have been designed to ensure students are able to use suitable seats, and that the operating environment has appropriate layout and lighting.  The Department has published a Guide to using post production facilities which explains the occupational health risks and gives advice on how to avoid injury. 
    3. Staff and students are making increasing use of portable devices and draws attention to the College’s published guidance on the use tablet devices.
  10. Management of Contractors
    1. Building plant maintenance, cleaning operations, and building refurbishment works are contracted by the College’s estates maintenance and campus services departments. The Head of Production Facility and the Senior Faculty Administrator act as the department’s liaison contacts with these departments, respectively for the Media Arts Centre buildings and for the Arts Building.
    2. Most specialist equipment used in media arts is repaired off-site by manufacturers, their appointed agents, or other recognized service providers. 
    3. Currently, there are two specialist installations that occasionally require contractors to work on site, namely the department’s media server system (primarily maintained remotely on-line under contract by Jigsaw Systems Ltd, who also installed the system after tendering for the supply, installation and maintenance via the College’s tendering management process), and the studio lighting grid, which is inspected regularly by an engineer from Zurich insurance, the College’s appointed insurer.
    4. In the event of a new specialist contractor being appointed, the Department will liaise with the College estates projects team and follow a suitable process, adopting the College’s template for appointment and management of contractors, to ensure effective health and safety management systems are in place throughout the period of work.
  11. First Aid
    1. The Department encourages staff to do first aid at work training and currently has four trained staff members:
      • Keith Buckman (Williams W0-13)
      • Sarah Peacock (Williams W0-18)
      • John Roberts (Arts Building ABG-06)
      • Neil Smith (Williams W0-16)
      • Will Lindsay of Campus Services is the designated First Aider for Bedford Square
    2. There are first aid boxes in Williams W0-16 and W0-18, Moore TV Studio Foyer and Arts AG-13.
    3. The contents of the First Aid boxes must be checked by the department first-aiders at regular intervals and any out of date or missing items replaced by completing the First Aid Order Form and sending it the College Health Centre. 
    4. In the event of an accident, incident or onset of illness requiring first aid treatment, a First Aid Treatment Card, and if required accident/incident report, must be completed in accordance with the College First Aid Policy
  12. Fire Safety (e.g. fire alarm testing, fire drills, etc.)
    1. At the beginning of year, students and new staff members are advised of fire evacuation procedures including the relevant assembly points.
    2. During the current library building project work, Fire Assembly Point 9 will be used both for the Media Arts Centre and Arts Building for emergency evacuations and fire drills [check].
    3. The fire alarm system test schedule has recently been revised and now operates as follows:
      • Arts Building - Tuesdays two-weekly at 8.30 am
      • Williams Building - Tuesdays two-weekly at 9.00 am
      • Moore Building (TV Studio) - Tuesdays two-weekly at 10.45 am
      • Garden Lodge - Tuesdays two-weekly at 11.40 am 
    4. Currently, the Department’s trained fire marshals are:
      • Arts Building: Angela Godden & Jackie Marty
      • Williams Building: Neil Smith
      • Will Lindsay of Campus Services is the designated Fire Marshal for Bedford Square
  13. Lone-working
    1. There are a number of staff and student activities that have been assessed as having a low to medium level of safety risk when lone working. Examples of such activities include:
      • A staff member using their office out of hours
      • A student using a Media Arts Centre editing room overnight or during or the weekend
      • Carrying equipment to a film location by public transport
      • Staff servicing equipment during office hours but in a relatively isolated area such as the Dimmer Room
    2. The Department has published a method statement for lone working, and has also published information about lone working in the Location Filming Code of Practice and in the Guide to using the post production facilities
  14. Work Experience Students
    1. The nature of the practical work undertaken in the Department, the seasonal nature of productions, the need for a significant level of skills training, the need to deliver optimum service quality, and the already demanding staff workloads, means there is limited benefit in offering work experience placements and so currently the Department’s policy is not to offer them.
  15. Children and Young People
    1. As well as having both organized and casual visits from children and young persons, student productions sometimes cast young actors. The Department has published a method statement for working with children and young persons to ensure that any such activities are properly managed, particularly during any student filming that involves child or young actors.

Dr. James Bennett
Head of Department
11th January 2016




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