The Camera Branch is aware that there are several long & dense coronavirus safety documents out there, and believe us when we say we know how thrilling & easy-to-read they are, because we helped to write some of them…
That being the case, we decided to condense all the most important points into a handy list of 10 questions to ask production and 10 things to do yourself. Please share, repost – even print out & stick to the magliner. 10+10: WHAT TO ASK AND WHAT TO DO:
With that in mind, here’s what you should ask about before you say yes to a job:
1. Social Distancing: how will they enforce and enable social distancing? How many people will be on set, and how big is the location? What is access like moving in and out of the location? Are there unit moves? Is there anything else to be aware of ahead of time that could affect our ability to social distance on set?
Note to crew: social distancing – keeping a 2m distance away from everyone else – is a key principle in the UK government’s guidelines for how to protect against the spread of Coronavirus. Many film H+S guidelines including Bectu, BFC and APA guidance insist on the use of a Covid-19 Supervisor to enforce coronavirus-specific protocols, like social distancing, which are difficult to do on set. See #4 for more on this…
2. Hand Washing: how will they encourage and enable the cast and crew to frequently wash their hands throughout the day? Will they be providing 70% alcohol hand sanitiser for everyone, and how will this be safely distributed on set?
Note to crew: Frequent hand washing is considered key to preventing the spread of coronavirus. Everyone should know how!
3. Masks: how will they ensure that everyone on set is wearing a mask and/or face covering at all times, because social distancing can’t always be enforced? Will they provide enough masks for everyone throughout the day (at least 3 per person – 1 before lunch, 1 after lunch, and 1 spare), and instructions for their use? How are they planning to safely distribute masks? What procedures do they have in place for sustainable waste management of used PPE?
Note to crew: The British Medical Association is currently advising the use of mandatory face coverings in public to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Face-coverings can protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically. Therefore, for face-coverings to be effective on set, everyone needs to wear one as an additional precautionary measure.
4. Covid Supervisor: will there be an independent Covid Supervisor (as per the Bectu, BFC and APA guidelines) to lead safety briefings and enforce safety protocols on set? Will this person have sufficient authority to keep the set safe for everyone?
Note to crew: the Camera Branch has heard reports that Covid Supervisors sometimes lack the proper authority to effectively enforce safety guidelines. It’s worth asking this question of your employer up-front, since a powerless Covid Supervisor doesn’t help anyone stay safe.
5. Cleaning: how will they allow for the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of equipment throughout the day? Will extra time, and cleaning supplies be provided?
Note to crew: Is the overtime planned into the budget? From reports we’ve been hearing, Covid shoots take about 20-30% longer than average “normal” shoots. Productions should plan enough time at the start and the end of the day for cleaning.
6. Briefing: will there be an online safety pre-production meeting for all the crew? Will there be an on-set safety briefing on shoot days?
Note to crew: Because Coronavirus set-safety protocols are very different to the way we are used to working, Bectu recommends that more attention is paid in pre-production to understanding how these protocols will come into play on your specific job, with your specific crew. The reports we’ve heard from the field indicate that much depends on your fellow crew-members’ attitudes, and these can be influenced more strongly in pre-production before the work day begins and the pressure is on.
7. Symptoms & testing: will they be conducting daily symptom checks with cast and crew at the start of the day? Will they be testing regularly? What will they do in the event someone is displaying symptoms, or tests positive for Covid-19?
Note to crew: The BFC guidelines have very specific recommendations about this for producers, and also indicate that storage of private information needs to adhere to GDPR standards.
8. Risk Assessments: how and when will they be distributing your risk assessment to the crew? Which members of the crew will be involved in creating the risk assessments? Will they be consulting with Bectu on the risk assessments, as required by the UK Government guidance?
Note to crew: The UK Government Guidance on Working Safety during Coronavirus says: “Employers have a duty to consult their people on health and safety…. You must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.”
9. Reporting Illness to the crew: will they be checking in with everyone 2 weeks after wrap to see how they’re doing? If someone from this production has developed symptoms within 2 weeks of wrap, will they contact everyone on the shoot to let them know?
10. Reporting Safety Concerns: if I have a safety concern on set, is there someone I can contact who will deal with it in confidence?
Note to crew: The Government’s advice for how to raise a concern:
1. Monitor yourself and your household for symptoms. Do NOT come to work if you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms – which can include a fever, a dry continuous cough, and the loss of smell or taste. Protect your colleagues, self-isolate and get tested!
2. Stay 2m away from everyone – ‘socially distance’ yourself. Everyone needs to cooperate to allow for this. Sufficient space needs to be allotted to individual crew members, and to departments, to allow everyone their own space. This applies to recces, load-ins, pre-lights, pre-dress, shoot, wrap, overtime, etc.
3. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day – before and after touching shared work surfaces or pieces of shared equipment, before and after changing a mask, before and after eating, etc. When you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use hand sanitiser with 70% alcohol.
4. Wear a mask at all times given that social distancing is not always possible or may be breached whilst working – we all know that it is impossible to keep 2m away from everyone on set all the time. This includes interior sets, interior locations, production offices, stages, and possibly outdoor locations where proximity working cannot be avoided.
Please note: the mask helps to protect others more than it protects you, so EVERYONE needs to wear one for this to be effective. Masks need to be changed at least twice a day, or whenever they are moist. Wash your hands before and after changing your mask. Handle your mask carefully only by the ear loops or straps to help avoid transferring the virus to your face/hands, and bag it up for disposal or cleaning after use.
5. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow to avoid spreading droplets. Wearing a mask will help with this.
6. Don’t touch your face. Wearing a mask will also help with this. If you touch the outside of your mask, wash your hands immediately – assume the outside of your mask has been infected.
7. Keep your personal belongings and equipment isolated and untouched by other people as much as possible. Avoid cross contamination. Don’t touch equipment that belongs to other crew members/departments. Shared equipment should be disinfected between users.
8. Plan ahead with your colleagues about the safest & most efficient workflow for your particular shoot, given your crew size, your location, the workload and other logistics. Keep in mind that everything will take longer. Even if you are in a junior grade, your department head should still talk to you about how methods of working will have to change to keep everyone safe.
9. Work deliberately and diligently. Working with these new safety protocols will take some time to get used to. Have patience with yourself and others, but do be diligent. Try not to rush or pressure others to rush. If a colleague accidentally makes a mistake, try to correct them politely and quickly, to help keep everyone safe. If you see something – say something!
10. Have clear communication with production ahead of time about who will be in charge of coronavirus safety on set, how risk assessments will be made, what they will do if someone on set starts displaying symptoms, etc. A Covid Supervisor is the obvious person to enforce the safety protocols. Risk assessments should be made in collaboration with the crew, and in consultation with Bectu, as per the BFC and government guidance. A robust symptom-response plan would include sending everyone home to self-isolate who has come into contact with the individual displaying symptoms, and getting everyone tested.
Bectu & BFC Safety Guidance: https://www.bectu.org.uk/covid19-return-to-work
Camera Branch Safety Reporting: https://forms.gle/TPsmtRjowftTqYNZ6
How to get a coronavirus test: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
WHO advice – how to wear a mask properly: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks
Last updated 16/06/20