Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment – Film, Photography and Magic Mirror Hire |  Jan 2023

This risk assessment covers general operations when using film and photography equipment in relatively stable and managed environments. Used for general shoots on site, which are low risk (still life, the person standing, sitting, reading, walking across the room, group portraits, etc.) It excludes off-site shoots or higher-risk shoots (animals, working at heights, pyrotechnics, potentially hazardous props, etc.) which must be individually risk assessed using the Location Shoot Safety Form.


Generic Risk Assessment – Film, Photography and Magic Mirror Hire


Filming or taking photographs of people in various locations (indoors and outdoors)

Who might be harmed and how?

The public or client members, staff, shoot contributors, visitors, and actors.

Control measures to consider:

When organising a shoot, there are many things to consider, and managing safety is one of your duties. The hazards to health and safety will vary; this document outlines only the most common.

Electrical safety: It is preferable to use battery-powered equipment. Check the condition of any electrical items, and if you see signs of damage, do not use the item. If you have to use mains-powered equipment; make sure that it is suitable for use outdoors including any connectors or plugs; use an RCD (residual current device); do not coil cables up as this can overheat them; cover/tape cables to prevent trip hazards.

Noise: Hearing damage can occur when exposed to poorly controlled noise levels on equipment/headphones. Check prior to use of noise-producing equipment to ensure volume levels are at an acceptable level.

Carrying and lifting: Many people suffer back injuries from basic lifting and carrying. Read the separate guidance note on how to lift heavy or awkward items. If you drop something heavy onto your feet, it may cause you further injury, and of course, the items themselves are likely to be damaged.

Slips and trips: Models, crew, and public/client members could have an accident if they slip over cables, props, garments, or other items. Always secure cables and keep props/garments out of the way so people can’t trip over them.

Working at height: It includes a fall from a platform when seeking a higher camera viewpoint and falling onto a bystander, resulting in potential bruising, fracture, or head injury. Give safety briefings prior to shoots. Never stand on anything unstable.

Poor weather: Adverse weather can lead to people becoming very cold, slipping over, or props and backdrops falling. If the weather is going to be cold, everyone should take warm waterproof clothing or a change of clothing. If the shoot is long, plan for breaks to get a hot drink or food. Your equipment will also need to be kept dry, and any backdrops must be made stable in the wind using sandbags or similar. If the weather is very poor, abandon the shoot and re-plan for another day.

Hot weather: On the other hand, if the weather is hot, you will need plenty of water for everyone, hats, and sunscreen. Plan breaks to sit in the shade, and if possible, plan your work to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Duration: Long shoots are tiring for all involved, and making mistakes is easier, which may risk your safety. You, the crew, models, and anyone else involved must take breaks and have the opportunity to eat, drink and sit down. Don’t forget that people with a health condition, disability, or who are pregnant may need to take more frequent breaks.

Permission: If you want to use a building, office, station, home, park, field, etc., the chances are that someone owns it. Always seek permission first. The owner will likely want you to produce evidence of insurance and risk assessment before granting permission. If you are asked to leave a location, pack up politely and make your way out. You can always follow up afterward and ask to come back, but if you argue, you might be preventing your return. At the time of writing, you do not need a permit to film/photograph public spaces. The Police have powers to stop and search under the Terrorism Act only if they ‘reasonably suspect’ someone to be a terrorist. They may view, seize and retain cameras in these circumstances.

Permission for portraits: Taking uninvited pictures can make the subject upset or angry. Seek permission before you take portrait shots.

Theft: Camera and filming equipment is very attractive to thieves. The same goes for your tablet and mobile phone. If you are shooting in the same location for several days, thieves will become familiar with you, your kit and your typical timetable. Never take expensive items you don’t need – if you can leave them behind, do. Be discreet with your phone/tablet/laptop and only use them for the minimum required. Plan your route to and from the location in advance.

Aggression and threats: Violence can be both physical or verbal (for example, threats). Do a recce of the location first, without expensive equipment. Take a personal safety alarm with you. Plan your route to and from the location in advance. Tell colleagues where you are going and when you expect to return. Avoid shooting after dark. Avoid working by yourself. Remain polite, even if someone is rude to you. Get permission from your subjects first. If you want to shoot in someone’s home, you must take further precautions and follow the separate guidance note. Have a written explanation of your project with you so you can hand it out to curious members of the public.

Abandoned buildings, construction sites, or other dangerous spaces: The hazards here are numerous, and you must write a specific risk assessment before work begins.


COVID-19 Risk Assessment – Film, Photography and Magic Mirror Hire


Filming or taking photographs of people in various locations (indoors and outdoors) during the COVID-19 pandemic,

Identify the hazards (anything that can cause harm)

Transmission of the virus in:

  1. Person-to-person contact,
  2. Person to object/material contact.

Who might be harmed and how?

  1. Members of the public or the client could be at risk of contracting Covid-19, putting them at serious risk of illness.
  2. Photographers could be at risk of contracting covid-19, being exposed to an environment out of their control.

Estimated risk level – Medium.

What measures are in place to reduce the risk?

  1. Photographer has referred closely to government guidance, including but not exhaustively:
  • Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19),
  • Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Shops and branches,
  • Managing risks and risk assessment at work.
  1. Photographer to maintain a high level of personal hygiene:
  • Photographer to wash hands frequently for 20 seconds or more following government guidelines,
  • Hand sanitizer will be used where washing hands is not possible,
  • No physical contact
  • Being alert to possible hygiene issues.
  • Wearing a mask if unable to maintain a 2m distance
  1. Photographer to daily clean areas and equipment that are receiving high traffic usage or are frequent contact surfaces:
  • Personal belongings (such as mobile phone, car keys, etc),
  • Assets (such as a car and its interior),
  • Business equipment (such as a camera body, light stands, etc).
  1. Photographer to avoid:
  • Wearing jewelry, watch, etc,
  • Handling cash if possible (use contactless payment where possible).
  1. Photographer and Client to maintain social distancing according to government guidance.
  2. Client to maintain personal responsibility for their own hygiene practices in line with the government “stay alert” guidance:
  • Washing hands when arriving on location and when leaving,
  • Washing hands as frequently as needed and using hand sanitizer if needed.
  • Avoiding touching their faces.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination with the photographer (by touching the photographer’s equipment, such as cameras, light stands, bags, etc).


By following all of the above procedures, the estimated risk of anyone contracting COVID-19 is Low.


What further action is needed to reduce the risk?

Please note that although the photographer has put safeguards in place to minimise the risk of a client contracting COVID-19, it is not possible to eradicate the risk completely. Therefore, the client takes responsibility for their own health and safety and must make a personal risk assessment to identify whether they deem the residual risk too high.


In this risk assessment, the client should consider their own vulnerabilities, including whether they’re within one of the “at risk” categories as identified in government guidance.