Training and Competence: Safety

As an employer, the BBC must ensure employees are competent to do the work asked of them safely. This Guideline outlines the way we do this and how you can help, as well as providing a full list of our safety training resources.

Updated: 15 March 2021

Competence can be described as the skills, knowledge and experience that a person has and how they use these to perform the tasks / activities required of them to an appropriate standard, and thereby helping them discharge their safety responsibilities.

Developing competence in safety (through training and experience) is good for the person, for the team and for the organisation, and will lead to improved safety performance.

Induction for All

  • All new starters to the BBC should be inducted to their workplace within the first few days of arrival to make sure they understand the safety basics such as fire escape procedures, first aid, accident reporting and security arrangements (see BBC Induction Form in Related Topics)
  • All new starters to the BBC should also complete the Upfront sessions (see Recommended Links (Gateway))
  • All new starters (including current workers moving to new departments / workplaces) must be inducted on the risk assessments and/or safety precautions that relate to their work activities, as well as complete any necessary induction training courses (e.g. NBH Fire Safety Induction following a move to NBH (see Safety-Related Training courses in Useful Documents)).

Mandatory / Job-specific Training

  • All staff should complete relevant mandatory safety training (see also Safety-Related Training courses in Useful Documents). Mandatory training should be completed prior to being exposed to, or to managing, relevant safety risks.
  • Some job roles have specific safety competency criteria e.g. Managing Events safely, First Aider, etc. and the Academy’s training courses aim to address these
  • Where the competency standard required of an individual cannot be provided through internally co-ordinated training courses, these must be sought by suitable external training providers (BBC Academy and BBC Safety can help source such providers). This training may include qualifications needed to meet legislative requirements and industry standards for a given job role / activity (e.g. Hostile Environments, electrician, Divemaster, etc.) – where available, BBC Safety Guidelines describe the required competency standards
  • To maintain safety standards, competence requirements for a given appointment or task should be clearly defined in, and appended to, risk assessments. Where such qualifications / certification are required (by law and/or by BBC Guidelines), records must be checked prior to appointment to ensure they remain ‘in-date’ throughout the job. Where appropriate, this checking may require the review of logbooks kept to satisfy continuing professional development (CPD).

Managing Safety

Managers have an important role in the safety of their teams - they are involved in planning processes and risk assessments, they supervise the actions of others, and they are often the point of contact if things go wrong.

  • Competence / safety performance must be a central element in the recruitment process, and managers need to be able to define the competency standards required for those that work under them
  • Competence / safety performance should be part of all of our personal performance objectives through the PDR process, identifying gaps in team / personal skills and knowledge, and steering continuing personal development plans through appropriate training
  • Managers should familiarise themselves with the safety support services available to help them
  • Managers at Band 10 and above can hone their safety management skills through the Safety Leadership course (see Recommended Links (Gateway))
  • Managers wishing to develop further their safety competence should consider professional courses / qualifications awarded by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (see Recommended Links).


  • In general, BBC training courses are not available to freelancers engaged on a self-employed basis - they are expected to arrange for and pay for themselves any training and up-skilling they need to be able to perform the job required of them competently
  • The exceptions to this can be where the training courses are either considered ‘orientation’ (i.e. required to understand BBC-specific processes) or ‘mandatory’ (which includes some safety training)
  • When engaging freelancers, productions must check their competence, including with regard to assessing and managing the safety risks they will be responsible for. Production Safety Passport (PSP) training courses (see Recommended Links (www)) are accepted across the TV / Radio production industry and, providing they will remain ‘in-date’ throughout the production run, will not need to be repeated during their time with us. Freelancers can assist productions to access their PSP training records by registering with Hiive (see Recommended Links)
  • Where the freelancer is required to complete mandatory safety training, their contracting department should build it into their schedule of work and it should be completed prior to them commencing location work. The freelancer’s time for this training is only to be considered paid ‘working time’ if they complete it during an existing contract period – freelancers should not be brought in and paid to attend such training out of contract
  • Freelancers should co-operate with the production to undergo the mandatory training required of them by the BBC – noting that PSP face-to-face courses are scheduled by training providers for the benefit of all and are not generally available ‘on demand’. Online courses may not provide an adequate substitute for PSP courses. Any issues should be referred to local Managers, BBC Safety and the BBC Academy.

Further information on Working with Freelancers is available in our safety guideline (see Related Topics).

Third Parties

We rely on external people to help us carry out our work - freelancers, contributors, contractors and independent production companies – and their competence is an essential part of ensuring good safety performance in all that we do and portray. Details on how to select and appoint competent third parties are given in our relevant Safety Guidelines (see related Topics). 

H&S Assistance

It is a statutory requirement of all employers to engage one or more competent persons to advise them on the measures needed to comply with UK safety law – within the BBC, this role is provided by BBC Safety. The numbers and competence of those employed in this role needs to be proportionate to the size and complexity of the organisation, the risks involved and the distribution of those risks throughout the places where the organisation works.

  • The BBC must maintain a source of competent safety advice which is able to adequately support the business in all areas where the BBC works
  • The source of competent safety advice must set and maintain appropriate standards of competence in those that it appoints to provide safety support to the organisation, and manage their delivery to help mitigate safety risks in the business.

Useful documents

General safety topics

  • Accident Reporting and InvestigationThis Safety Guideline describes how we manage, report and investigate accidents.
  • Forms and ChecklistsCollated safety-related forms and checklists.
  • Getting Started in Health and SafetyA Safety Guideline for new starters which describes the key health and safety resources, processes, training and support services available in the BBC.
  • Health and Safety Law postersHSE Health and Safety law posters tell workers what they and their employers need to do in simple terms. They must be displayed on all business premises or employers must provide each of their workers with the equivalent leaflet.
  • Industrial disputes within BBC: Safety guidanceThis guidance provides information to staff and managers about safety issues which may arise out of industrial action within the BBC.
  • Management OrganisationThis topic describes the way that safety management is organised in the BBC. It should be read in conjunction with the information on individual responsibilities. In general, safety management responsibility cascades through the organisations management structure though specific tasks may be delegated.
  • Monitoring and ReviewMonitoring and review are the ‘check’ part of the Plan–Do–Check–Act of our H&S management system.
  • Safety HubSafety Hub is the BBC's online risk management system where you could record risk assessments, report and investigate accidents and incidents, record monitoring information and carry out DSE assessments.
  • Risk AssessmentThis Safety Guideline lists the key measures for those wishing to complete a safety risk assessment.
  • Safety AlertsCollated below are the Safety Alerts issued by BBC Safety.
  • Safety Documentation and Record KeepingA guide to some of the key safety records that we need to keep. It summarises what records are kept and who, in the BBC is generally responsible for keeping them.
  • Safety ManagementThis section provides our Guidelines in relation to the organisational management of Safety in the BBC, as well as access to the BBC Safety Policy.
  • Safety Responsibilities by Job RoleThis Guideline describes the safety responsibilities which staff and freelancers hold by virtue of their job role within the BBC.
  • Training and Competence: SafetyAs an employer, the BBC must ensure employees are competent to do the work asked of them safely. This Guideline outlines the way we do this and how you can help, as well as providing a full list of our safety training resources.

Tools, guides and contacts

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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