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Orwell House
16-18 Berners Street
Fitzrovia
London
W1T 3LN
UK

About Us

1st Option Safety Group is the UK’s leading health and safety provider for the media and entertainment sector.

Equipped with a highly qualified and experienced team of on-demand advisers, online resources, bespoke training courses and a comprehensive range of equipment, 1st Option is able to collaborate closely with its customers to offer a bespoke service for all their safety needs.

1st Option possess an unrivalled track record of delivering a first class service on diverse and complex projects in the film, TV and events sector. That is why more than 400 production companies, venues and events trust and retain its services each year.

Languages Spoken: English

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Credits

Production Type Year Role
The Greatest Dancer TV 2019 Safety Support
Chernobyl TV 2019 Safety Support
The ABC Murders TV 2019 Safety Support
Killing Eve TV 2019 Health and Safety Support
Bohemian Rhapsody Film 2019 Health and Safety Support
Race Across The World TV 2019 Health and Safety Support

Team

Name Role Contact Telephone / Mobile
Jamie Fewster Head of Production Safety Services Send a message T: 0845 500 8484
M: 07595 219853
Sam Askham Head of Equipment Services & Logistics Send a message T: 0845 500 8484
M: 07738 680527
Chris Lawton Head Of High Risk Services Send a message T: 0845 500 8484
M: 07730 198786

Latest news

Safeguarding In Production

Our associate safeguarding and child protection expert, Caroline Brant, former Head of Safeguarding at the BBC, explains why safeguarding is so important and what measures productions need to take to fulfil their duties in this important area.

Safeguarding children and vulnerable people who are taking part in a production, contributing to content or attending an event can be a complex process but is nonetheless vital. This was never felt more so than in October 2011 when Jimmy Savile was identified as a prolific child sexual abuser. Prior to this, and despite rumours of his inappropriate behaviour towards children as early as 1990, he was generally seen as a high profile, if somewhat eccentric, celebrity who hosted Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It and was a great advocate for various charities. He was lauded by politicians, the NHS and the BBC and given privileges that were far above his position or abilities. The reality was that he used these privileges to opportunistically sexually abuse and exploit children. It is believed that he was actively abusing children throughout his 50 year career, damaging the lives of at least 300 children although this number is likely to be more. In response to the allegations and police investigations, the BBC commissioned Dame Janet Smith, a barrister and former High Court Judge and President of the Council of The Inns of Court to independently examine the activities of Savile while at the BBC. The review report was delayed a number of times due to a police investigation into the activities of Stuart Hall who was also associated with the BBC. In 2013 and 2014 he pleaded guilty to charges of child sexual abuse against children aged between 9 and 17 years over a twenty year period and given two prison terms of 30 months. Sadly, it is not possible to say that Savile and Hall were alone in using their status to abuse children because further celebrities have since been convicted including Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris.

The outcome of the review, which took nearly four years to complete and totalled more than 700 pages, found Savile had sexually abused 72 people (children and adults) and had raped eight people (children and adults) including an eight-year-old child at “virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked. The recommendations required a complete overhaul of child protection policies, practices and processes at the BBC.

While the impact of Savile’s behaviour was felt by the organisations in terms of reputation and legal action the biggest impact by far was on the people he had abused and it is therefore important that those working with children and vulnerable people in the performing arts take every available step to ensure this never happens again. Whether you are a large or small production company that works with children a lot or rarely, the responsibility and duty of care remains the same.

Safeguarding children requires a comprehensive understanding and adherence to legislation as well as knowing, for example, how to gain informed consent, how many hours a child can work under license, who can chaperone a child and other practical steps that can be taken to reduce risk such as crew child protection briefings and criminal background checks, where applicable. If all this sounds a little overwhelming 1st Option Safety can help you work your way through the processes that will ensure that children and vulnerable people will remember their time with you for all the right reasons.

The services we offer range from policy development, pre-production briefings, advice on safe recruitment, production support around issues such as consent, licensing, chaperones, pre and post-production duty of care, and site visits. All the above will help you to ensure that your organisational risks are understood, managed and that safeguarding is embedded within your culture.

Our full guidance on safeguarding and child protection in productions is available to clients here

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Caroline Brant - started her career in the NHS and for over 25 years developed her love of safeguarding children as a registered nurse, midwife and health visitor. In 2002 gaining a Master degree at Keele University in Child Care Law launched her career further to including chairing multi-Agency child protection committees and serious child protection case reviews. She spent the next 10 years in senior leadership roles for the NHS including heading up childrens safeguarding services for a number of counties and acting as independent consultant advising on strategy, policy, procedures and operational delivery.From April 2013 Caroline spent over 5 years as the Head of Child Protection & Safeguarding (CP&S), at the British Broadcasting Corporation where her skills took the organisation from the troubled status post Jimmy Savile and the Dame Janet Smith Review to being regarded as an exemplar for the media sector. She comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge around all aspects of production.

The Royal Opera House loses its appeal against Viola Player

The Royal Opera recently lost its appeal against Viola player, Mr Chris Goldscheider who damaged his hearing whilst rehearsing, Wagner’s Die Walkure.

In 2012, Viola player, Mr Christopher Goldscheider was rehearsing Richard Wagner’s Die Walkure, whilst sitting in front of the trumpet section where noise levels reached to 132 decibels. This is roughly equivalent to the noise levels of a jet engine. Mr Goldscheider felt a sudden pain in his ear which left him with lasting damage and unable to perform professionally.

Mr Goldscheider sued The Royal Opera House for his permanent hearing damage and acoustic shock – a condition which includes tinnitus, hyperacusis and dizziness. The High Court also ruled that The Royal Opera House had breached health and safety regulations and were responsible for the pain caused and permanent hearing loss of Mr Goldscheider.

The Court of Appeal ruled that The Royal Opera House was responsible to protect Mr Goldscheider during the 2012 rehearsal. They also stated that it failed to act upon the dangerous noise levels, until Mr Goldscheider was injured. This was the first time acoustic shock was recognized as a condition, which could be compensated by the court.

Mr Goldscheider told the BBC, “I am grateful to the court for acknowledging that more should have been done to protect me and other musicians from the risk of permanent and life changing hearing problems. We all want to find a way to participate and share in the experience of live music, in a safe and accessible way and I hope that the guidance which the Court of Appeal has given in my case will help others. I hope that the Royal Opera House will now support me to get on with rebuilding my life.”

1st Option’s Noise in Performing Groups expert, Ruth Hansford who worked with the BBC and others to produce ‘Sound Advice’, a guide on noise exposure to musicians, and who is now working towards a PhD on musicians’ hearing explained, “There was a lot of discussion at the time that the UK government had over-interpreted the EU directive. The UK regulations say that ‘noise means any audible sound’ but there’s no definition of that in the directive.”  But the courts have taken the view that music is the same as any other noise for the purposes of the legislation.

According to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), employers must carry out effective risk assessments to identify noise levels in the workplace. Where those levels are higher than 80 decibels, employers must take steps to reduce the noise, provide suitable hearing protections and make sure employees understand and are properly trained about noise risk. This case will bring further scrutiny to noise in the music industry and employers will need to ensure that employees are receiving the correct health and safety support related to the potential damage caused by noise.

1st Option can support employers with noise assessment and management in performing groups, theatres and other music venues.  Call 0845 500 8484