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While this document may apply to many theatre, television, or similar environments, its focus is on live performance including onstage, backstage, orchestra pit, fly gallery, trap rooms, quick change areas, dressing rooms, cross-over corridors, passageways (voms), entrances and booths. It also covers information about shops for props, scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, wigs, make-up, special effects, etc.
Almost all workplaces – including performing arts productions and events – must follow the requirements of the occupational health and safety acts and regulations in their jurisdiction. Always check with your local jurisdiction's occupational health and safety, and the worker's compensation agencies to determine what rules may apply in your situation.
Employers and workers each have duties and responsibilities towards maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. For example, employers must educate and train employees about any potential hazards, how to safely use, handle, store and dispose of hazardous products, and how to respond in emergencies. Employers must also make sure workers know how to use and handle equipment safely and properly. Workers have the responsibilities to work in compliance with the acts and regulations, to work in a safe manner as required by the employer, and to use the prescribed safety equipment.
Note that volunteers may or may not be considered "employees or workers" under occupational health and safety laws. This determination depends both on the jurisdiction (what province or territory you are in), and on if the organization is organizing their activities, providing instruction, or if the volunteer is compensated for their time (e.g., passes, certificates, food). While this distinction matters in term of any worker's compensation if an injury occurs, employers still have a duty to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all, including volunteers and guests.
Yes. Live performance venues and production environments (shops) can have many hazards and risks. These areas involve a wide range of equipment, tools, chemicals, activities, etc.
Theatre includes a number of settings, including design, set construction, props, special effects, costumes, electrics, makeup, acting, and front-of-house activities.
Some examples of hazards are listed here but it is not a complete list. Use the various documents from CCOHS for more information on how to work safely in various situations or environments. Some of these documents are listed further below.
Set construction and deconstruction / Prop Shop / Lighting / Audio and Video
Cosmetics and theatrical makeup
Information from CCOHS includes:
Health and safety program elements
Specific hazards or risks
More information is available from*:
(*We have mentioned these organizations as a means of providing a potentially useful referral. You should contact the organization(s) directly for more information about their services. Please note that mention of these organizations does not represent a recommendation or endorsement by CCOHS of these organizations over others of which you may be aware.)