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More 'Health & Safety' silliness...

Bernard 20 Apr 12 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Apr 12 - 10:13 AM
Roger the Skiffler 20 Apr 12 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 20 Apr 12 - 10:20 AM
Mo the caller 20 Apr 12 - 10:25 AM
Peter C 20 Apr 12 - 10:27 AM
Mo the caller 20 Apr 12 - 10:28 AM
Bernard 20 Apr 12 - 10:36 AM
Owen Woodson 20 Apr 12 - 10:41 AM
Bernard 20 Apr 12 - 10:50 AM
Leadfingers 20 Apr 12 - 11:29 AM
Bernard 20 Apr 12 - 11:39 AM
Marje 20 Apr 12 - 12:15 PM
Peter C 20 Apr 12 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,PeterC 20 Apr 12 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Apr 12 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,999 20 Apr 12 - 01:54 PM
Jack Campin 20 Apr 12 - 03:08 PM
Bernard 22 Apr 12 - 06:31 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Apr 12 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Apr 12 - 07:52 PM
Bernard 23 Apr 12 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 23 Apr 12 - 11:02 AM
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Subject: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 09:56 AM

I have recently been invited to perform at an event, which I won't name to avoid any risk of reprisals! Suffice it to say it isn't a music event, just an event with a music stage within it.

As I have performed at this annual event frequently in the past, I accepted a booking for a paid slot (little more than travelling expenses) of thirty minutes on a temporary stage with a sound system being installed and operated by a reputable PA company (again, no names). The power will be from a generator. It's a daytime event so there is no stage lighting.

During the day, other performers - singers, instrumentalists, dancers and so on - will be entertaining the crowd... but only if they comply with what I view as an unreasonable list of conditions...

They want me to prepare a Risk Assessment (no mention of a Method Statement, though!), and furnish proof of Public Liability Insurance.

Admittedly the form was worded as if I was operating a burger van or suchlike (it refers to 'My Company and Personnel'), and I'm guessing that the person who sent it has been told by some local government oik that they must have these forms filled in for insurance reasons...

I responded to say that the event should have the necessary PLI, and that Method Statements along with associated Risk Assessments should only be required from those responsible for erecting the stage and those providing the sound system.

I also explained that, under these terms and conditions, I was no longer interested in the gig, and that I wouldn't be surprised if other performers (friends of mine, so I know it to be fact, not supposition!) would also withdraw from the event.

The reply I received was 'interesting'!

They have offered to 'write my risk assessment' for me, which basically entails me signing a statement that I am happy to work on that stage at that event during the time period specified.

To me, that is a disclaimer - and rather a risky one to agree to, I would suggest.

The stage will be around a metre high, so there is a slight possibility I may fall off and squash a small child with my accordion... none of my instruments will be plugged in to anything, I'm merely going to be standing in front of microphones. I won't be taking any of my own amplification, nor will anyone else.

Has anyone else fallen foul of such misguided beaurocracy (okay, don't all shout at once!), and how have you tackled it - other than withdrawing from the event?


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:13 AM

They probably read about the band in (what country was it?) that decided to shoot off fireworks from the stage, started a fire, and got a number of people killed. They're in prison now.

Basically the management has asked for a written statement of what you plan to do. (It's only your supposition that the government is behind it.)

I agree with you that PLI for somebody who is going to sing and possibly play an acoustic instrument is ridiculous. I understand that if you join the EFDFSS, (sp) you get PLI.

Remember that the festival sponsors are almost certainly donating time, suffering stress and taking risks for no financial reward. Spoil them a little and show your appreciation by going along with them on this.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:13 AM

I understand MU members can get an hour's free legal advice on any contract they are asked to sign.

RtS


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:20 AM

In the thread about the Winston Gallop we see what kind of trouble even acoustic musicians can cause:

"Jamie Allen was a real character, though, Northumbrian Piper and small time crook. He used to gather a crowd with his playing, then his associates would make their way round the crowd picking their pockets."

One never knows, do one?


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:25 AM

Is it silly to consider whether anything you are about to do is risky?

I think I would write something that says in what way your performance is safe (e.g. that you will remain on the stage), and then elaborate a bit on what might happen during the performance and whose responsability you think it is to avoid this.
E.g. electrical safety - PA providers
kids climbing on / falling off the stage - organisers / stewards / (you?)
improperly suppervised kids - parents / organisers
fire and medical emergency - organisers / stewards / (you as the man in front of the mike?)
overcrowding and other crowd control issues - organisers / stewards / (you?)

Maybe put in a bit saying you will stop your perfomance if x,y,z, hazardous events are allowed to happen. Push the responsibilty back where it belongs.

I don't know if that is what an 'official' risk statement looks like.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Peter C
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:27 AM

There are a couple of ready written risk assessments Here which you are free to copy and amend as you wish. I was asked only a week or two for a risk assessment for a 'busking' type event (first time ever!), so I just wrote them! The organiser of the event just files them, (with your copy of your PLI certificate) and they only see the light of day if a problem arises.
If you are professional about playing for the public, then these sorts of things are just things you have to put up with! (IMHO)


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:28 AM

I did preview - but one escaped. All kids should be suppervised, bedvised and babysat on.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:36 AM

Nah... believe me, it isn't worth the trouble... I'm out!

They are NOT asking me for a Method Statement, nor are they really asking for a Risk Assessment - they clearly do not know what one is...

Believe me, I do know about these things as I work for a PA hire company. Clients such as Shell and AstraZeneca have us jumping through hoops in the name of H&S, and we have dozens of PDF files approved by legal beagles that we regurgitate each time they are required.

No, they simply want a disclaimer from me in case I'm injured by something - like tripping up a step...

It's the thin end of the wedge. I'm just not interested!


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:41 AM

Sounds like this should be below the line. If you leave it there someone might fall over it.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:50 AM

;o)


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 11:29 AM

We have ben asked for CRB Check info to perform at an ALL adult event !! TOO many pepleinvilved in all sots of events have NO idea of what they are doing !
Friends of mine were asked to perform Outdoors . WITH PA , and asked about rain . The Booking Idiot said "There a room close by" - And seemed to think that a full PA out in the rain would NOT be any problem !!

It seems H&S is just another way to muck people about and is often used as an excuse to NOT allow an event !


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 11:39 AM

Yup - that's my take on it, too...

Once upon a time if you tripped in the street, you picked yourself up and said 'that was a bloody silly thing to do!' (or words to that effect)... nowadays you're encouraged by 'ihadanaccidentandamgreedy.com' to sue the council for damages!!


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Marje
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 12:15 PM

Much of this is not actually anything to do with Health and Safety legislation, which only applies to workplaces. It's got more to do with insurance, public liability, and the fear of being sued, which in turn is fuelled by the "who-can-I-blame?" culture.

Marje


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Peter C
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 12:22 PM

Marje is absolutely correct of course, but I repeat what I said in my earlier post, if you want to be professional about performing, you just have to get on with it! If you don't, then just play at home for your own pleasure!


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 01:07 PM

If you cause an accident its you responsibility, you are the one who needs to insure against it not the event organiser. Their insurance covers their cock ups not yours.

The risk assessment is, I agree, OTT.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 01:13 PM

Who's putting this festival on? A bunch of well-meaning amateurs or professional promoters? How big is it? When is it?

Bernard, did you promise to help somebody well-meaning, whom you are now letting down at the last minute because you're feeling rebellious?

What's the whole story?


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 01:54 PM

Write them and say there is a low to moderate possibility that a female festival goer will get her breast caught or squeezed in the accordion but you will eat garlic and onions just before the performance to keep eager fans away thus mitigating said risk. Also tell them that you will modify your act so that the finale with napalm and propane doesn't take place.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:08 PM

Tell 'em it's not going to be any riskier than this:

Bow Gamelan Ensemble, Margate

or this

Fire Organ


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 06:31 PM

Leeneia - I wasn't going to mention the event by name, but everything does seem to be resolved now.

The event is Thundersprint 2012, an annual international motorcycle rally which takes over the centre of Northwich, Cheshire UK over an entire weekend in May. It's big.

This year the Music Stage organiser is new to the job, and only asked me to take part a few days ago (I've frequently been involved in the past). It seems that some misinformation resulted in her sending out forms to entertainers which were really intended for traders (burger vans, fairground operators and the like).

PeterC - please read my second post. A DISCLAIMER, not a risk assessment is all they require. In other words, if I injure myself doing something daft I can't sue... but if the stage collapses due to someone else's negligence, I can.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:02 PM

I agree with Bernard's first view. He is not the event organiser, H&S is not his problem. The two correct words begin with F and O respectively.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:52 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Bernard. As a person who used to run around behind the scenes at folk events, giving time and money while others either sit & enjoy or sit & criticize, I can get a little touchy.

I hope you have a successful gig and a good time.


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 09:24 AM

Thanks, folks, your support is appreciated.

I've had pretty much the same response from quite a few people I've spoken to, who thought, as I did, that caving in to it could have created a dangerous precedent!!

Sorry to hear you've had some bad experiences, Leeneia - as a folk club organiser myself I know how it can be a thankless task sometimes getting everything ready. People only see the finished results without given a second thought to how it got that way...!

Perhaps I'm a bit OCD because I like to put all the matching chairs together, and have the room 'just-so' - but I believe it creates a lasting impression when people walk in. Small things matter!


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Subject: RE: More 'Health & Safety' silliness...
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 11:02 AM

The event organiser will have overall responsibility for Health and Safety. However the actual risks are in the hands of dozens of subcontractors - caterers, PA suppliers, electricians, scaffolders, exhibitors and, yes, musicians. In order to fulfil their own H&S responsibilities the organiser needs to check that all these people have thought about the H&S issues their activity involves. This means asking for method statements and risk assessments. It doesn't mean telling someone how to do their job. It's simply good practice.

If all you're doing is walking up to a mic (put there by somebody else) and singing some songs then both the method statement and risk assessment should be fairly brief. They should only address your own activities (not PA or stage construction, for example) and shouldn't take much time or be very onerous to devise, and might just make you think about something you hadn't considered - where to leave instrument cases so someone backstage doesn't fall over them, for example. If you really can't envisage any risks arising from your activity, then say so - it shows you've considered it and ruled it out.

We all agree this sort of thing is unnecessary silliness, until something goes wrong and people die:

Pukkelpop stage collapse


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