British Film Commission Outlines Guidelines for Restarting Production


The British Film Commission has released its official guidance on how to manage COVID-19-specific risks during physical production in a studio environment and on location, including prep, shoot and wrap processes.

The guidelines are meant to help employers, employees and the self-employed working on film and high-end TV drama production in the U.K. understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing safe systems of working, implementing personal and environmental hygiene measures and keeping as many people as possible 2 meters apart from those they do not live with.

It covers COVID-19-specific health and safety (H&S) and awareness; supervision, enforcement and communication; who should work during COVID-19; social distancing and personal hygiene; and mental health and wellbeing of cast and crew. Further considerations involve travel for both air (international) and ground (to, from and between workplaces); accommodation; on-set crew, cast and supporting artist numbers; unit base/facility vehicles; catering and craft services; workspace (set/location/production offices/dressing rooms, facilities, etc.) cleanliness, sanitization and inspection; and personal and hired-in equipment cleanliness, sanitization and inspection. The other topics involve limiting face-to-face meetings/meeting etiquette; cast and stunts; crowd shoots and supporting artists; studio operations; construction, workshops and off-set services; art department, props department, set decoration and graphics; camera (including grip/crane/DIT/playback/script supervisor); costume; director and ADs; hair and make-up; lighting technicians; locations; picture vehicles; production and accounting; sound; special effects (SFX); visual effects (VFX) supervisors and producers (for onset operations); and further useful guidance.

The document adds that in applying this guidance, productions must consider how decisions and policies may affect people with different protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and assess whether any further adjustments should be made in respect of such individuals. Productions are also advised to explore any concerns raised by workers about attending the production, even in cases where protected characteristics do not appear to be relevant. They should also ensure that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is observed, which will involve understanding suitable lawful bases, notifying people of any testing that is undertaken and completing a data protection impact assessment.

This risk assessment should be under regular review, particularly if there are changes in the work or processes, as well as when relevant guidance is updated. The policies, and procedures and arrangements for control measures, should then be clearly and effectively communicated to all cast and crew, and anyone else who may be present on set. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions and workers.