UK broadcasters unite to introduce guidance for safe TV production | Major Businesses | Business
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ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5 owner ViacomCBS, STV, ITN, the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) and producers’ trade body Pact have joined forces to introduce new industry wide guidelines for producing television safely in the weeks and months ahead.
UKproducers 19May2020
The guidelines are intended to enable a return to production for the television industry and the guidance is said by the partners to covers the range and scale of all TV programme making in every genre for TV and is complementary to the forthcoming British Film Commission guidance on managing the risks associated with film and high-end TV drama production.

In summary, the guidance details six areas that producers, in conjunction with the commissioning broadcaster, must consider when planning to produce during Covid-19. Namely: specifically consider people at higher risk of harm; heighten precautions for everyone at work; reduce the number of people involved; consider editorial ‘on camera’ requirements; consider mental health and wellbeing; feedback loop.

The guidance also lays out the key areas to consider when assessing risk on productions and suggests controls to consider (detailed in the attached guidance). They are: try to minimise travel and follow social distancing principles within travel arrangements, wherever possible; consider the physical capacity of the space given the requirements of social distancing along with the provision of key hygiene facilities; consider the activities that people are going to need to undertake across roles on production and if these can be adapted or changed to reduce risk.

In addition the guidelines note that work equipment is key to TV production from cameras and headsets to edit suites, and good hygiene and managing potential issues with touchpoints should be addressed. They also observe that work patterns may enable producers to have small groups (cohorts) of people who don’t come into contact with other groups and that there was a need to plan around breaks to ensure rest areas are as safe as possible.

The guidelines regard use of PPE as very much a last resort and should only be considered when all other forms of control have been considered and/or implemented. They stress that it would not in general be appropriate to source medical grade PPE apart from in the very limited exceptions to this might be when filming in higher Covid-19 risk settings such as hospitals which would only be at the invitation of the relevant hospital authorities.

Explaining the background to their announcement, the consortium of broadcasters and producers says that these are exceptional circumstances and the industry should comply with the latest Government advice on Covid-19 at all times. It adds that the guidelines are based on the practical application, within a TV production setting, of the latest Public Health England (PHE) guidance; other restrictions may apply in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) will consider PHE guidance in connection with the management of workplace risks in the enforcement of relevant Health and Safety regulations.