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| p.1 #2 · Health and Safety etc requirements? |
Hello I have had experience suddenly this last year when when photographing in Corporate City Buildings, for example, Shell and some Livery Halls and Public buildings in the Docklands. I am mainly an events photographer, so use portable battery operated flashes but do bring some mains monolights sometimes. If you are bringing a ton of heavy lighting 1000s of watts 3 phase stuff then I have no experience.
They all went a full risk assessment of activities on their premises. This means writing exactly what you will be doing there and what precautions you have taken for the safe operation of any equipment you bring, how you use it and how that effects you, your assistants and anyone else on the premises.
So firstly making sure any mains equipment is PAT tested ( Portable Appliance Test ) sorry if this is obvious, but I was never asked for this until last year. You can get a tester to come and test all your equipment and cables for not much £50.00 and give you a certificate. Public liability insurance certificate costs around 100.00 annually for £5 million. That's the easy part. Thinking up possible risks, I was asked for 5 last time, without being facetious is difficult.
Obvious one is a trip hazard so all trailing cables will be taped to the floor, next that you will not leave stuff around for others to trip over, tripods bags etc. Reassuring them that all equipment is fully serviced by competent people. I had great difficulty thinking of anything else, I stated that all batteries were sealed inside cameras or battery chambers so little possibility of chemical leakage and if they did, the leak would be contained. After that it came down to holding the camera safely in my hands secured around my neck with a strap so that it might not drop on me or someone elses toes, you see how near one gets to being facetious. That was enough for all the H and S officers. I did write a polite note stating that I was trying hard to think of risks but could go no further without appearing to be rude. Once you have done this all once, it should be enough for whenever you are asked for it again.
This, I think, has become a tick box for them, probably demanded by their liability insurers, and oddly so far this year I have not been asked any of this. It seems unnecessary and time wasting if you are only using light simple equipment and are probably less of a threat to safety than the business person plugging in their dodgy laptop who does not have to go through this. I think photographers have been lumped in with film industry standards where things are clearly different.
You can download a risk assessment form from the HSE.gov site. The site is also helpful as it debunks a load of Health and Safety myths.
Hope that helps, you are welcome to get in touch if you want adrian pope