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Risk Assessment

Musicians come across Risk Assessment either as an employee, when the employer has to do a Risk Assessment, or as a freelance/self-employed player asked for a Risk Assessment (RA) by a venue or producer.

These are two different routes and have to be treated separately.

On this page you will find information about:

Risk Assessment for Employed Musicians

Where you are directly employed the main responsibility falls on the employer

The main legislation covering this is the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations but there are other regulations which have more specific provisions, such as for manual handling or noise.

The employer has to do the RA and is supposed to involve you and your safety reps.

You should be told about matters that will affect you.

The employer has to draw up an action plan of how they will eliminate or reduce any risks you are exposed to.

The procedure for doing this is set out in a short Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guide Five Steps to Risk Assessment.

A number of things have to be looked at in regard to musicians, such as:

  • noise exposure
  • electrical equipment
  • musculo-skeletal problem (meaning looking at how you work physically and aches and strains that may result, seating, posture)
  • working on stages
  • working outside
  • rehearsal spaces.

If you are concerned about any aspects of health safety or welfare you should talk to your MU Regional Officer and your MU Health and Safety Rep.

The MU can give advice on how to deal with different health and safety problems like hearing testing, noise levels, working at height or touring.

If you wanted to look at the sorts of things your employer should be looking at a good guide is the free Online Interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) tool.

If your employer is finding it difficult to know what they should be looking at, you can also refer them to OiRA, which is geared towards the need of employers.

Risk Assessment for Freelance or Self-Employed Members

As a freelance/self-employed musician (or part of a small group of the same) there is an increasing demand for you to provide a RA from venues or events, and this is often being added into contracts.

The easiest way to comply with this is to use this RA form from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the adapted format we have provided.

Background

Health & Safety law sets out a requirement for the self-employed whose work affects others to assess the risks involved.

We also regard it as good practice to do a RA for those times you are working alone - such as practice, rehearsal or working on a computer - to ensure your own health and safety and make sure you don’t fall into bad habits.

However, when you are working for a venue or production you are effectively a sub-contractor and, as such, you can be asked to provide an RA by the body/person booking you. Equally, you can ask to see the RA of the venue booking you. The theory is both parties are to discuss tying in each RA.

The main legislation covering this is the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations but there are other regulations which have more specific provisions, such as for manual handling or noise.

You do not need to know all the detail to start doing a RA.

It is a straightforward common-sense process of listing:

  • what you do,
  • the clear hazards and risks you may face (for example, electrical equipment, noise, carrying kit, interaction with audience, using vehicles), and
  • what you will do to eliminate or reduce the risks - an action plan of what you are going to do practically (for example, to have electrical equipment tested on a regular basis and for you to do a visual test as you set up).

What you need to do for yourself and fellow workers

You are looking to carry out a RA for yourself and how you interact with other freelance musicians. The most common elements most musicians have to look at are;

  • electrical equipment (including use of lights)
  • manual handling
  • vehicles used for transport
  • special effects
  • noise
  • musculo-skeletal problems (meaning looking at how you work physically and aches and strains that may result, seating, posture etc.)
  • working outside
  • working on temporary structures.

It’s all basic common-sense – listing what you do, what you have to look out for and measures you take to deal with them.

This includes how you interact with others, which covers those you may work closely with such as in a band, but also those you may work with at a venue or on a programme of different acts. It also covers how you rehearse and practice.

The easy way to do this is to draw up your own list or use this HSE drawn-up template. Fill it out and keep it as a guide. Regularly check to see if it needs updating or, if you are going into a new or different situation, modifying.

By using the HSE-based form, you are showing that you are following HSE guidance. It is a very simple form and meets HSE requirements.

If you want to know more about the basic approach look at the short HSE document Five Steps to Risk Assessment.

OiRA

If you want to look at things in more detail, or get guidance on the sorts of problems that can arise, you can use the free Online Interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) tool.

This tool was developed for the entertainment/music sector involving all sides, including the unions.

It shows you the range of problems that may need to be considered. It is also a good refresher if you have done an RA before, and user friendly.

You can look at it as much or as little as you choose – you don’t have to do every part of it, just those you are concerned with. It is also something you can refer venues or producers to look at if they need assistance in meeting their obligations.

This is your own RA to help you and those you work with. What you need to supply to those booking you is covered next.

What to provide to those booking / contracting you

It is okay for you to be asked to provide a RA by those booking you, but the information to be provided only needs to relate to how you are going to work for that contract.

Organising your own event

If you are organising an event or production, or are involved in any way, then the OIRA tool is an excellent introduction and guide for what you need to do.

Related downloads

Notes on Touring - Health and Safety (PDF 21.28 bytes file opens in new window)

5 Steps to Risk Assessment (PDF 109.05 bytes file opens in new window)

Risk Assessment Template MU Version (Word document 73.5 bytes file opens in new window)