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Archive 2013 · Health and Safety etc requirements?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Health and Safety etc requirements?

Has anyone here applied for a tender where they are requiring the status of your Health and Safety, Risk Assessment, and Environmental?

This is aimed at UK photographers, as thats where I am based.

I am self employed, haven't been asked this before, so need help on where to look and what to write. Any ideas?

Jun 18, 2013 at 04:03 PM

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p.1 #2 · 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

Jun 20, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Health and Safety etc requirements?

It could be a boiler plate form the use for everyone so the risks of a photog being on site are different than an electric or painting company setting up scaffolding or something that carries more risk.
One location manager wanted me to have a $10,000,000 insurance rider, the same as the crane company who put the AC units on the roof. We ended up going somewhere else...

Jun 20, 2013 at 09:44 AM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Health and Safety etc requirements?

Thanks Adrian. What you have written is a big help. I was really scratching my head. I do mainly PR photography, and 99% of the time I am using battery power, so was wondering what my hazards would be.

Jun 20, 2013 at 06:17 PM

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Health and Safety etc requirements?


I pretty much do this for a living so I can probably help.

You basically need to consider risks to yourself and risks to anyone else around you. You also need to include risks to the environment. E.g if a light stand fell over it could smash a window.

Keep it general, it doesn't have to be specific to the job you are doing this time (if you lay out a cable, someone could trip over it regardless of where/when you lay it out). Only time you would need to make it specific is when you're doing something really specific (hanging off a building on a harness for some shots - that kind of thing).This also means you can keep them on file and they become the Risk Assessments for your business and for all future jobs.

Write it in a simple column format:

Risk. Who is at risk from it. Level of risk (low, med, high). Precautions to prevent
This risk being actualised

Your precautions need to be 'reasonably practicable'. E.g you lay a cable, someone or you could trip on the cable, first obvious solution would be don't lay the cable. This isn't reasonable because you need it. Maybe you could use a warning sign or lay the cable tight to a wall etc that's reasonable.

I hope that helps.


Jul 10, 2013 at 12:02 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Health and Safety etc requirements?

The world is going mad with all this OH&S rubbish.
Here in oz it's constantly rammed down everyone's throats.

The thing is, the public can basically do what they want, you come in and want to plug in a laptop and the amount of crap and wasted time you have to go through is ridiculous.

I have had to do Site inductions when photographing in the exact same places that the public makes use of. They point out where the exits are and where the fire extinguishers are ( which is difficult to take seriously when you are shooting in an outdoor aquatic centre, WTF is going to burn??) and just go through crap that's an insult to a persons intelligence.

At a lot of places, they won't let you in the joint unless all your leads and appliances are tested and tagged which only lasts 3 months. They are not cheap to have done here but luckily I have a friend who is certified for the testing does mine for the price of the tags he has to buy ( which aren't cheap either.

He is a tradie and has to go through all this site induction BS every time he goes to a place even if he will be there 5 min and is just going to look at something before getting parts or brining tools onsite. He charges for it now because if he has to do 3 quotes in a day at 30-60 min each for inductions ( the guy doing them is never around to do them straight away so he always has to wait around) it's a big chunk out of his day.

yeah I know this is to protect people ( mainly too stupid to look after themselves) and for insurance but it's over the top and out of control.
The trouble with things going too far is that it goes full circle and people take it as a joke and become Blasie'. I know I do.

I credit myself with half a brain and I wouldn't used an appliance with a frayed cord standing ion the top step of an aluminium ladder in a foot of water hanging onto a live exposed cable so when you get people telling you not to do that over and over, it starts wearing thin pretty quick.

The other thing I see is that most tradies once they get in the door disregard all the supposed precautions and safety regs like putting barriers or taping off an area around a ladder they are working on because it's stupid and completely impractical.

I remember helping one friend where the site manager was a real PITA and stickler for the regs and was giving the guys real grief over every little stupid thing.
They got him back when they wanted to shut down the power supply to the entire building in order to comply with some stupid and impractical reg that had no bearing on safety at all.
A friend told him, we can follow the rules to the letter and make things hard for everyone or we can give people credit for having half a brain and get on with the job, which way do you want to go?

Needless to say, they didn't get any grief off the guy for the rest of the week till the job was done.

It's all good and well to be safe, it's something else to be stupid and over the top about it.

Jul 16, 2013 at 10:53 AM

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