Safety Responsibilities by Job Role

This Guideline describes the safety responsibilities which staff and freelancers hold by virtue of their job role within the BBC.

Updated: 20 August 2020


As an employer, the BBC has a duty to protect the safety and health of anyone who might be affected by what we do. This requires those who work for the BBC to know and understand the responsibilities they have to protect their own and other peoples’ safety. Safety responsibilities cascade through the BBC from top to bottom. Appropriate standards of health and safety can only be achieved by everyone playing their part. Everyone has the right to refuse to undertake work which puts them in imminent danger.

The BBC has a number of Divisions and Departments, with differing job roles and titles. This Guideline cannot hope to list each of these – instead, it summarises the main production roles. Job roles not defined here can be clarified at local management level, with support from HR. 

This Guideline starts by defining the personal safety responsibilities that are common to all of us and then goes on to describe responsibilities particular to a given job role. Higher level safety management responsibilities, and in particular, for our Safety Boards, Committees and Forums, are described in our Management Organisation Guideline (see Related Topics).

On first reading, these responsibilities might seem daunting, however, there are lots of arrangements in place to help you discharge them, including: a team of professional Safety, Health and Security Advisers, safety systems and processes, safety policies and guidance, and many other support services within the BBC (including HR, Workplace, Occupational Health, etc.).

General Safety Responsibilities

Managers manage people, be they staff (including work experience / interns) or freelancers. In safety and security terms, this means protecting people from injury and ill-health in the workplace by providing a safe workplace, safe work equipment, managing work demands, making sure they understand and can comply with the safety and security arrangements, and making supporting arrangements available to them. Wherever they work in the BBC, managers and staff have the following responsibilities:

All Managers

  • team members are inducted to the workplace, and receive instruction on local processes, procedures and risk assessments to ensure they understand the risks involved in the work
  • team members receive mandatory H&S training
  • activities presenting significant risks are covered by risk assessment, including as appropriate, through subject-specific risk assessment processes such as for display screen equipment use, psychological safety, shift working, provision of access services and personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPS)
  • team members work is monitored against workplace risk assessment and inspection / audit findings, with management supervisory support provided as needed
  • workplace safety inspections are carried out and recorded at appropriate intervals to maintain appropriate standards of housekeeping and  work equipment
  • their workplace has adequate first aidmental health first aid and fire warden cover, with any team members providing this cover given sufficient time and support to perform these duties
  • team members are encouraged to report work-related accidents and ill-health and, where these occur, they are properly addressed, reported and investigated to help prevent recurrence
  • they attend safety forum / committee meetings as required through Corporate and Departmental safety arrangements.

All Workers

  • take care of ourselves and of any others who may be affected by what we do (physically and psychologically)
  • follow safety arrangements put in place to protect us from harm and ill-health
  • use work equipment as we were trained / instructed to do
  • report to our manager any new or unfamiliar hazards in the workplace as soon as we notice them – if there is an imminent risk of injury, stop work until the situation is resolved
  • report to our line manager any significant accidents / incidents we have at work and, as advised by them, record it on the BBC incident reporting process
  • attend any safety training required by our job role.

Production Safety Responsibilities 

In addition to the general safety and security responsibilities listed above, and in accordance with job title or role, those in productions will also have the following responsibilities:

  • Set Corporate Health and Safety Policies
  • Set and maintain Corporate organisational arrangements capable of meeting H&S Policy requirements
  • Appoint Executive Director to lead on H&S and Chair the BSC.
  • Attend the BBC Safety Committee as directed by the Corporate H&S Policy
  • Establish Group / Divisional H&S organisational arrangements to meet Corporate H&S Policy requirements
  • Set Divisional H&S objectives, targets and action plans to meet Corporate H&S Policy requirements
  • Monitor and review H&S performance within their Division against Corporate safety targets and action plans, reporting to the BSC as necessary
  • Communicate, promote and champion H&S issues in their Division – as advised by BBC SSR, respond to H&S issues and risks to help mitigate their impact to the business
  • Ensure the Division for which they are responsible has access to an appropriate source of competent H&S advice.
  • Ensure that relevant health and safety arrangements are implemented in areas under their control, including day-to-day oversight of safe operations are part of their normal managerial functions
  • Attend Divisional level Safety Forum
  • As necessary, chair local Safety Committee meetings
  • Ensure adequate resources are available to enable production ambitions to be safely delivered and managed
  • Ensure departmental activities presenting serious safety risks are being appropriately assessed and managed
  • Review and adjudicate on serious safety risks referred to them by their Exec Producers, for example, travel to designated hostile locations and where BBC Insurance has raised an uninsured risk issue
  • Carry out safety performance monitoring of production activities through targeted location visits or documentation reviews (supported by BBC Safety as necessary)
  • Appoint an appropriate manager to lead on investigations into serious accidents (on advice from BBC Safety).
  • Ensure a suitably competent person is appointed as Series Producer / Editor on your productions – supervise and support as them as necessary to maintain safety standards
  • Review production proposals at development and Green Light meetings in relation to potential compliance with Safety Guidelines - escalate any concerns to the Head of Production
  • Review and adjudicate on production safety issues referred to them by their Producers and where BBC Insurance has raised an uninsured risk issue – escalate any concerns to HoP.
  • Appoint competent people to your team and ensure they receive further training in relation to unfamiliar risks they may face during the production
  • Show safety leadership by setting standards and sharing safety lessons
  • Plan production activities with your Producers with H&S a key consideration
  • Review and adjudicate on safety issues referred to you by your team, by BBC Safety and BBC Insurance – escalate significant concerns to your Exec Producer
  • Oversee compliance with Editorial Guidelines, including portrayal of safe practice
  • Ensure risk assessments are in place for production shoots of significant risk, with a process in place to review and revise them as necessary.
  • Appoint suitably competent people to your team
  • Plan and co-ordinate safety for individual shoots, carrying out such research and recces as necessary to adequately inform the risk assessment process, including to be able to respond to any emergencies - seek expert help where required
  • Support Production Managers in ensuring adequate resources are available for the intended ambition of the shoot
  • Ensure suitable and sufficient risk assessments are provided for the shoot, including from third parties appointed to manage some aspect of the shoot
  • Support Production Managers in providing a safe and realistic production schedule
  • Ensure appropriate communication of risks and precautionary measures to all involved
  • Ensure team members and contractors are appropriately supervised and monitored whilst undertaking tasks - where imminent danger to the team arises, stop activities until appropriate remedial measures are put in place
  • Ensure any accidents on the shoot, including by contractors, are properly reported and, as necessary, investigated.
  • Manage the budget / resources required for safety
  • Review and arrange safety training of the production team, including induction of new joiners
  • Assist Producers in the risk assessment process
  • Schedule production activities with due regard to the team's safety, health and wellbeing
  • Engage / contract third parties – as necessary, verify competence and obtain supporting documentation to provide adequate safety assurance
  • Monitor production compliance with BBC safety processes, escalating concerns to the Series Producer/ Producer.
  • Ensure suitable and sufficient risk assessment and, as necessary, studio safety rules, are in place to manage routine studio risks
  • Review risk assessments provided by others with regard to new activities within the studio
  • Liaise with Producers and others to ensure co-ordination and co-operation of activities within the studio, and to act as the main point of contact in emergencies
  • For activities on the studio floor, monitor compliance with risk assessments / studio safety rules
  • Ensure safety briefings / inductions are carried out for all those working in the studio
  • Ensure arrangements are in place to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of audiences and visitors.
  • Provide and maintain safety guidance which is up to date, accurate and proportionate to the risks being managed by productions
  • Maintain safety systems and processes which enable production teams to meet statutory requirements
  • Support productions by providing practical safety advice (24/7) in compliance with safety legislation, from planning through to edit
  • Deliver safety training, and as necessary one-to-one safety coaching, to production teams
  • Where appropriate, provide specialist safety support and services to productions on location e.g. rigging, first aid, safety vetting
  • Carry out safety inspections and assurance visits to check appropriate safety standards are being maintained by productions - record your findings and report any safety issues up the management chain as appropriate
  • Carry out safety vetting of independent production companies on request from the business to ensure these have the necessary arrangements to safely manage the commissions being asked of them
  • Carry out safety vetting of contractors and suppliers, liaising with BBC Procurement to ensure appropriate services are readily available to productions.
  • Review story proposals at development stage in relation to compliance with BBC Editorial and Safety Guidelines
  • Ensure adequate resources are available to enable production activities to be safely managed
  • Ensure suitably competent people are appointed to deliver the production need
  • For activities of significant risk not already covered by a generic risk assessment e.g. the JSG, ensure suitable and sufficient risk assessments are being completed, approved and communicated prior to deployment
  • Review and adjudicate on production safety issues referred to them by their Producers / SBJs, including portrayal of safety in final edit - escalate any concerns up the management chain
  • Show leadership and share safety lessons with your team
  • As appropriate, ensure accidents in your team are appropriately reported and investigated.
  • Ensure an appropriate level of research has been undertaken into a story to enable the safety risks involved to be suitably assessed
  • Ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is in place prior to deployment - ensure these are adequately communicated to those being deployed
  • Ensure those appointed to cover a story are suitably experienced & trained in relation to the nature of the story and the potential risks involved, with adequate team numbers and support from base
  • Ensure those being deployed are equipped in accordance with risk assessment findings, including the provision of suitable personal protective equipment, and appropriate transport and means of communication
  • Schedule the work of those being deployed to adequately consider their health, safety and welfare including in relation to their rotas/ shift patterns, rest and meal breaks and transport arrangements
  • Monitor the work of those deployed to ensure their continued health, safety and welfare on location.
  • Ensure health and safety issues are properly considered when developing storylines, seeking advice from colleagues and BBC Safety where needed
  • For activities or locations not already covered by a generic risk assessment e.g. the JSG, ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is completed with due regard to BBC Safety Guidelines
  • Communicate risk assessment findings to other members of the team - critical safety risks and control measures should be briefed in person prior to location work
  • Ensure team members are appropriately supervised and monitored in accordance with risk assessment findings and instructions from your Deployer – where unforeseen and imminent danger arises, be prepared to stop activities and withdraw, or put in place additional suitable safety measures
  • Report accidents to your Deployer as soon as is practicable - follow their instructions in relation to reporting and investigation requirements.

Working with Third Parties topics

  • Contractors: Working withThis Guideline sets out our approach to working safely with contractors and includes access to our vetted contractor lists.
  • Contributors: Working withThis Safety Guideline provides guidance to those who work with contributors in the generation of content for our programmes or webpages, be it us filming / recording them or them providing us with their user generated content (UGC).
  • Freelancers: Working withA Safety Guideline to the engagement and management of ‘freelancers’ working at the BBC.
  • Independent Production Companies: Working withThe BBC needs to ensure that any Independent Production Company it commissions is able and competent to make the programme with due consideration for health and safety.
  • Monitoring and ReviewMonitoring and review are the ‘check’ part of the Plan–Do–Check–Act of our H&S management system.
  • Riggers: Selection ofThis Safety Guideline provides guidance to those who wish to engage riggers / rigging supervisors on productions.
  • Working with Third PartiesThis section lists the safety guidelines we have for when we work with third parties i.e. those who are not employed directly by the BBC.

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About this site

This site describes what the BBC does in relation to managing its health, safety and security risks and is intended for those who work directly for the BBC.

It is not intended to provide instruction or guidance on how third parties should manage their risks. The BBC cannot be held liable for how this information is interpreted or used by third parties, nor provide any assurance that adopting it would provide any measure of legal compliance. More information

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