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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
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
Les Miserables TV 2019 Health and Safety Support
The X-Factor TV 2018 Safety Advisor
The Crown (Series 3) TV 2018 Safety Advisers

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

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

Mental Health: A Timely Reminder For The Television Industry

The Mental Health Foundation states that the leading cause of death in the UK, for young people aged 20 to 34, is suicide. Statistics shows that men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide compared to women and the recent death of Love Island contestant, Mike Thalassitis, has highlighted the need for television productions to ensure that full support and aftercare is given to cast and crew members for their mental health and well-being. The contestants go from living ordinary lives to becoming overnight reality TV stars. The pressure of stardom can create a negative impact which needs to be supported with the correct training and aftercare.

Former Love Island contestant and semi-professional footballer, Mike Thalassitis was found dead in a park in Edmonton, North London on Saturday 16th March. As the news broke, many payed tributes to the former reality star online but some Love Island contestants spoke out about the lack of support from the producers once they left the programme.

Mr Dom Lever, a contestant on the 2017 show, stated that popular and important contestant’s well-being was prioritised over the other contestants once the programme ended. “You get a psychological evaluation before and after you go on the show but hands down once you are done on the show you don’t get any support unless you’re number one.”

ITV recently stated that Mike’s death has sparked calls for further support and aftercare for individuals who star in reality programmes. ITV said that they will ‘proactively’ check up on the contestants after they have left the show rather than waiting for them to get into contact. Love Island will offer therapy, social media training and financial advice to the contestants once they leave the villa.

ITV’s Statement: ...“We have had requests for help from former Islanders, and have provided this. We have always recognised that this should be an evolving process and six months ago we engaged Dr Paul Litchfield, an experienced physician and a Chief Medical Officer, to independently review our medical processes on Love Island. He has extensive experience of working with large companies and Government in the area of mental health. This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us. And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management. The key focus will be for us to no longer be reliant on the islanders asking us for support but for us to proactively check in with them on a regular basis.”

Since the early 1990’s reality TV has seen a significant growth in popularity. Alongside that growth there has been an increase in the number of participants experiencing mental distress and despair. To understand why that might occur it is important to understand how mental health is affected, what fosters or impedes psychological resilience and how these factors are impacted by reality show contributors.

The World Health Organisation defines Mental Health as ‘ …a state of well-being in which every individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to their community.’

When a person is not realising their potential, coping with their daily stress and unable to work productively or contribute, then their mental well-being is deteriorating. This means they become more psychologically vulnerably and less psychologically resilient – thus they are less able to cope when additional stressors come along.

For reality TV stars, their day-today life changes rapidly once they are on television. Therefore, it can be expected that for many their previous coping strategies for maintaining their mental well-being may be insufficient or even wholly inadequate as the situations and events they are exposed to deviate from anything they may have previously experienced. In addition to adapting to the additional stress of life in the public eye, Reality TV contributors often find their previous established coping strategies deteriorate, it can be that close relationships with family and friends suffer and they lose their sense of belonging and connection with trusted individuals, financial strain increases, reputation can be damaged, lifestyle choices begin to become unhealthy, and control over their own privacy can feel impeded or lost entirely.

In short, the impact of being a reality TV contributor is likely to challenge any individual’s mental well-being. Whilst it is important to note that there can be many positive effects of being a contributor that can increase mental well-being, such as increased sense of self and life purpose or increased financial security, these would decrease risk of psychological harm to the individual. Ultimately the ‘side-effects’ of being a reality TV contributor should be expected to be challenging to their mental health in various ways over the both the short and long term. Tackling the impact on contributor’s mental well-being can be done by following best practice principles for psychological first aid. This means ensuring crews and contributors have the right psycho-education to help themselves stay well and spot signs of deteriorating mental-health in those around them as well as ensuring access to appropriate support is available and clearly signposted.

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1st Option Safety can deliver accredited and non-accredited mental health first aid training for levels 1,2 and 3 and specialist psychologist support for your production. If you wish to train your team or need assistance on your production, contact us today: 0845 500 8484