UK - The Entertainment Industry has seen many improvements in safety practices in recent years as 'health and safety culture' becomes common place in all aspects of day to day business.

One of the latest areas of focus is the design and management of temporary electrical systems in not only the TV and Radio world, but also in films, at events, in theatres and other similar workplaces.

Whilst the current IET Wiring Regulations BS7671 (17th Edition) qualification exists for fixed electrical systems, there has not been an agreed industry qualification for BS7909 - the Code of Practice on Temporary Electrical Systems in the Entertainment Industry.

Therefore, an industry working group involving the leading broadcasters, lighting rental companies, BECTU, PACT - representing the Independent Production Companies, several key employers and, Creative Skillset have all come together to design a suitable course.

The two day course which includes an assessment and exam, encompasses the key elements of both key British Standards 7671 and 7909.

Over 250 people including gaffers, best boys and electricians have already been on the course and have all been extremely pleased with the detailed content, its relevance, the opportunity to work and study alongside fellow colleagues and to be able to contribute to raise electrical standards across the Industry.

James Eade, electrical consultant and author of the IET guidebook on the subject, developed the course for Skillset with the group. He said, "It was a welcome opportunity to work on this project as the industry really does need some means of enabling crew to demonstrate they have the competence to apply the safety requirements of BS 7671 and 7909 in an event or production context."

In an industry first, broadcasters and independent productions will insist that the person(s) responsible for designing and managing temporary electrical systems (e.g. gaffers and best boys) on their productions will have passed this course, or equivalent mapped to the Skillset standard, by April 2016 - two years from the original launch of the course.

Long term, the plan is for all those working within in the industry to have attended and successfully passed the course by April 2018.

Steve Gregory, Head of Health and Safety at the BBC said, "It's fantastic to finally have an agreed training benchmark for our sector and we're firmly committed to applying it."

Those working under instruction and appropriately supervised will be exempt. An example of someone under instruction could be an apprentice or student on a recognised training scheme. This is with the full support and agreement of the industry's electrical workforce.

The course itself has received positive feedback from those who have already attended with the majority agreeing that it is long overdue and welcome. This was succinctly summed up by Chris Pratt, technical director of Film & TV Services who commented, "At last, there is now a course that is specific and relevant to the industry we work in."

The Skillset certificate has been designed to be accessible (only requiring two days of training and assessment) and is a ready means of demonstrating such competence. Anyone successfully completing the course will receive a certificate and have the opportunity to go onto a searchable industry database.

As James Eade noted, "Many already have the required electrical knowledge so this course will enable them to be brought up to date in the shortest possible time and to help them use that existing knowledge effectively".

The courses will be available around the country, further information and dates can be found via the following link

(Jim Evans)

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