Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

How Dangerous is Treading the Boards?
Posted by David Cant on March 24, 2014

Construction Health and Safety ConsultantsHistorically parents have been cautious in their support for offspring who announce a desire to move into acting. Usually this is because of the uncertainty of finding work or being able to feed themselves between roles. Other times it because the lifestyle of excess that seems to accompany being in the limelight.

Even behind the scenes, uncertainty awaits. Managing a stage production can be equally fraught and uncertain for instance.

No approved technical theatre qualifications

A standard theatre production usually involves some form of construction in order to create the sets upon which the story is played out. A team of carpenters, painters and other creative assemble furniture, scenery and props to provide the visual furniture required in advance of opening night.

As the theatre professional’s magazine of choice The Stage points out however, there is no recognised technical theatre qualification available for these behind-the-scenes craftsmen and women. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the government’s own gold standard CSCS card is not required for set builders because the projects do not technically classify as construction sites.

Using other standards

Every employer has a duty of care towards their staff and the general public. It follows then that just because there isn’t a theatre industry agreed standard doesn’t mean that one of the alternatives may not be suitable.

The aforementioned CSCS cards for instance gives employers a guarantee that holders have been tested against generic standards to prove their competence. The CSCS card scheme was introduced to help employers and employees understand and fulfil their competency obligations under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 Act, showing that holders should be safer when working on site.

Unfortunately for directors and production designers, the CSCS card scheme does not guarantee quality of work. For producers and theatre managers however, knowing that the workforce are qualified in health and safety measures should provide some peace of mind that risks will be reduced wherever possible.

Some evidence of ability

CSCS cards are issued based on two factors – proven experience in the role, and successfully passing the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. Because cardholders have had to occupy a position for a certain period of time before qualifying (particularly for higher grades of card), employers can logically infer that their standard of work may be slightly higher than that of workers without a CSCS card.

In the absence of any industry specific certifications of quality, theatres may find that the CSCS card scheme offers some of the guarantees they need when hiring production staff. Choosing CSCS-qualified employees and contractors will also help theatre owners ensure that they are working towards meeting their health sand safety obligations. For permanent staff, investing in CSCS training may prove to be of greater benefit to the theatre in the long run.

Establishing your own standards

Veritas Consulting provide CSCS card assessments to businesses across the UK. Why not get in touch today to get your set construction team certified and begin to establish your own standards of working at your theatre?


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: CSCS Card Test Training, CSCS Card Tests

Follow all of the latest Veritas Consulting news on our RSS feed

Twitter: Veritas_Tweets