NORFOLK & NORWICH OPERATIC SOCIETY
HEALTH & SAFETY POLICY
The Norfolk & Norwich Operatic Society does not have any employees and as such there is no legislation covering this type of organisation with charity status. However, it is good practice for our type of organisation to produce a Health & Safety Policy as a guide to its members to ensure that the risk of accidents etc. is kept to a minimum.
The prevention of accidents and ill health is one of the most important functions of the committee members because:
The Society will try to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of its members by providing:
• We do not want any member or other person to suffer as a result of rehearsals or production.
• We intend to use Health & Safety legislation as a basis for this policy.
• We recognise that accidents, unsafe and unhealthy conditions can be a drain on members financial resources as well as affecting our own rehearsal schedule and demonstrating a lack of efficient management by the committee.
The Committee will endeavour to ensure that any persons who manufacture, supply etc. any articles and substances for use during rehearsals or the production, or erect or install any plant or equipment, are competent and understand their duty to ensure the health and safety of those who will use the article or substance etc.
Members must look after their own health and safety and ensure that they do not endanger others. They must also co-operate with the committee to assist them in ensuring that every member acts in a health and safety conscious manner.
No person must recklessly or wilfully interfere with anything provided for health and safety.
Failure of members to comply with the contents of this policy is putting at risk the health and safety of other members.
GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY
Our policy is to provide and maintain safe and healthy conditions and equipment for all members and to provide such information, training and supervision, as they need. The Committee also accepts its responsibility for the health and safety of other people who may be affected by our activities.
Adequate provisions for health, safety and environmental control are essential to rehearsals and productions and the prevention of injury and losses are not only vital to the Norfolk & Norwich Operatic Society, but also in the best interest of all our members, their families and employers.
As far as is reasonably practicable, the Committee, therefore, aim to:
A) Ensure that all members are fully aware of their own individual responsibilities for safety and of the rules and environmental procedures that are relevant to their roles within the Society and each production.
B) Maintain necessary and up to date knowledge, information and developments as the Committee become aware of it, concerned with health and safety.
C) Ensure new methods, machinery and procedures are examined to identify possible hazards, and where appropriate, a risk assessment is carried out so that protective measures may be taken.
We cannot stress too much the importance of the co-operation from the members of the Society and the need for good communications.
Lifting items in an incorrect manner can cause some of the most serious and long term injuries. The following is designed to give guidelines to manual handling in a safe way to reduce the risk of injury.
Where possible, an assessment will be undertaken for operations that involve manual handling. The committee will try and reduce the number of instances where lifting items occur. However, please read carefully the following notes to assist in the correct lifting technique.
1) Do not jerk and shove…. Twisting the body may cause injury.
2) Lift in easy stages, i.e. Floor to knee, knee to carrying position. Reverse this lifting method when setting the load down.
3) Hold weights close to the body. Lift with the legs and keep the back straight.
4) Grip loads with the palms, not with the fingertips. Do not change your grip while you are carrying.
5) Do not let the load obstruct your view. Make sure the route is clear before you start moving.
6) Where the lifting or moving of heavy loads is unavoidable, e.g. installing or dismantling scenery, suitable foot protection should be worn where there is a risk of injury
7) Wear suitable hand protection if there is a risk of injury from sharp edges or splinters
A first aid box is provided by the Society and will be present during all rehearsals and the week of production. Some members of the Society may hold first aid certificates and these members should be approached in the event of an accident.
The Group takes First Aid seriously and uses the following procedures to ensure that qualified first aid assistance is available to any persons in the rehearsal room(s), theatre or other premises during its (their) occupation by the Group. Note: Reference in this text to Health and Safety Officer means “The Health and Safety Officer or his/her nominated representative”. Such nominated representative(s) are recorded. The Group has a permanent first aid kit that meets the requirements of content and size for the number of group members. The first aid kit is kept at the rehearsal and theatre location as appropriate. The Group ensures that at least one of its first aid team is present at every rehearsal, performance or other event by the use of a rota.
The members of the Group, visitors and sub-contractors are made aware of the names and identity of its trained first aiders by general introduction of them to all members etc. In addition the name of each trained first aider is placed on the notice board. A record is kept of the location of the nearest telephone (usually a mobile) to be used in the case of an emergency and/or that at least two members are nominated as having a mobile telephone to hand to be used in the case of an emergency. In the case of an actual emergency, the Health and Safety Officer will nominate a person, normally other than him/herself to contact the ambulance service and receive feedback from that nominated person that contact with the ambulance service has been made. Details of any incident that requires first aid, however trivial, are recorded in the accident book by the Health and Safety Officer. To comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act the entries into the accident book shall be made by the Health and Safety Officer only (the definition relating to nominated representatives does not apply in this case). He/she shall take statements from the victim and any witnesses that shall be signed by them and appended to the appropriate page(s) in the accident book.
The policy of the Group is prevention of accidents in the first place. To this end it regularly, through its Health and Safety Officer, carries out checks of equipment, procedures and practices to ensure that they are being conducted in a safe manner and in accordance with procedures set down in other documentation in this manual. In addition, regular short sessions are given by the Health and Safety Officer, to all members, to ensure that safety remains at the forefront of their activities.
The Health and Safety Officer is responsible for ensuring that:
• From time to time, reminding all persons in the building of the need to remain alert to the potential of a fire and what they must do in the case of an outbreak or rehearsal for such an outbreak.
• Marked exits are kept clear of all obstructions such as chairs, boxes etc.
• He/she shall remind members of their duties in this regard and that they shall assist in these activities.
• Marked fire exits are unlocked during the time that the premises are occupied.
• A count of attendees is taken to ensure that all in attendance have signed the register.
• Fire drills are carried out at irregular intervals and that all persons present shall treat the fire drill in a proper manner and assemble at the nominated fire assembly point.
• In the case of an actual emergency nominate a person, normally other than him/herself to contact the fire brigade and receive feedback from that nominated person that contact with the fire brigade has been made.
• The register is removed during a fire drill or actual emergency and carrying out a check of all attendees on it so as to account to the fire brigade for any missing persons and their possible location
• Account is taken of any known members’ disabilities
PROCEDURES WITHIN THE PERFORMANCE LOCATION
• The Health and Safety Officer familiarises him/herself with the location of fire exits and the assembly points to be used and liaises with the theatre (other location) staff as to the procedures that are to be followed by his/her members whilst in the building.
• The Health and Safety Officer instructs his/her members on the procedures to be used whilst they are in the building and, as necessary, copies to them or prepares written procedures which mirror those of the premises in order that his/her members can familiarise themselves with the fire safety arrangements in the building.
• As an additional precaution, the Health and Safety Officer instructs his/her members, all Group backstage staff, visitors and Group-employed Sub-Contractors to sign the register which he/she prepares for use in the building.
In the event of an emergency, the Health and Safety Officer acts in accordance with the procedures for evacuating the building as agreed in writing with the theatre staff.
• The Committee will, as far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that any contractor or Company member engaged to provide lighting or other electrical equipment is competent and experienced. Where necessary they should also have appropriate Public Liability insurance
• All 240 volt equipment must be subject to a regular inspection and test process and be within its test date
• All 240 volt equipment will be visually inspected by a competent person before being used at rehearsals or for a production
• The Committee will satisfy themselves that theatres or other production and rehearsal venues have procedures in place to ensure that all electrical installations and equipment are regularly inspected and tested.
STEPS, STAIRS AND OTHER ACCESS EQUIPMENT
• All steps, stairs, ladders and scaffold towers used as part of a production or for erecting lighting, scenery etc., must be in good condition and will be visually inspected by a competent person before use
• Any scaffolding towers or other access equipment will only be erected by, or under the supervision of competent persons, and used by those who have been suitably trained
• The use of ladders will be avoided as far as possible, but where no alternative is practicable, the ladder will only be used on a flat, level surface at a safe angle (1 : 4), and will be secured or ‘footed’ by a second person
• Where steps or stairs are used by Company members during rehearsals or performances the Health and Safety Officer and Company Stage Manager will ensure that they are secure, safe to use, and that suitable lighting is provided.
USE OF STAGE PLATFORMS OR ABOVE-GROUND WALKWAYS
• The Health and Safety Officer and Company Stage Manager will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that any stage platforms or other walkways are of sound construction and are securely installed
• Where there may be a risk of persons falling, suitable precautions will be taken to prevent injury. This may be in the form of guard rails, barriers or other protective devices, white lines or by supervision. At no time, should anyone be asked to use or take it upon themselves to use chairs or tables during rehearsals. Only suitable rostra or platforms will be issued for use during rehearsals.