Home > Search > First Option

Our Contact Details

  Address

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

About Us

We are the largest, most experienced safety consultants to the media and entertainment industry. Our safety support, advice, training and equipment enables our clients to achieve their creative goals, safe in the knowledge they are protected from risks at work.

OUR VALUES:

Safety first: We safeguard people, we don’t compromise that for anything.

Make it happen: We help get things done, not get in the way.

Set high standards: We aim for excellence in everything we do.

Do the right thing: We are trusted and treat everyone with decency and respect.

Better together: We work as a team, supporting clients, colleagues and partners.

Languages Spoken: English

Follow Us



Twitter @f1rst_option

During the filming of ‘Indian 2’ on Wednesday 19th February, a crane fell over killing three crew members and injur… https://t.co/Ota4EYhhrA

Credits

Production Type Year Role
The Crown TV 2019 Health and Safety Support
Top Boy TV 2019 Health and Safety Support
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

Team

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

Latest news

HSE Clamp Down On Production Set Builds

If a set build is going to take longer than 30 days, have more than 20 people working on it at once, or amount to over 500 man days of work it becomes notifiable to the HSE under the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regs.  The set builds on most large features and TV dramas meet this criteria. 

Once notified, inspectors from the local authority or from regional HSE construction teams can, and increasingly do, visit unannounced to check that all the relevant rules and regulations are being applied.

“Productions need to get up to speed quickly” - HSE Inspector

Following a recent inspection to a large feature production the HSE have been briefing industry forums on their renewed focus on production builds.

The inspector issued the production in question with a Prohibition Notice, which prevents any further work from being done before safety breaches are corrected, for breaches of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Regulations.  Amongst other things, they found that there was no lifting plan in place, the weights of loads were not known, there were no qualified slingers or signallers, people were working below slung loads and there was no evidence of lifting equipment being checked.

The impact was a two-week delay in the set build and production schedule.  The steel erection contractors had to be replaced as they were unable to produce suitable risk assessments and method statements.

The inspector also served an Improvement Notice (requiring improvements to be made although work can continue) regarding the use of chemicals and materials – commonly found in the art departments – under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regs.  Mixing plaster of Paris without gloves, using fillers, resin and toluene (paint cleaners) with no protective clothing or masks being worn, no extraction system in spray areas or safe means of cleaning spry guns, no extraction or control measures for welding fume and a lack of training or awareness of the issues in the people involved.

The Improvement Notice required all chemicals on site to be properly identified and risk assessed with control measures put in place in accordance with the COSHH Regs such as the provision and use of appropriate protective equipment including properly face fitted masks. 

They also made a number of other observations including a scaffold tower that was incorrectly

HSE Construction Division now has production builds under the CDM notification system. They are ‘happy to enforce’

assembled, which had it been in use at the time would have resulted in a further Prohibition Notice, poor electrical safety and generally a low level of awareness and concern about safety among the people on site. 

The message from the HSE to industry forums is for productions to get up to speed on required standards quickly.  The HSE construction division now has studios and locations firmly in their sights and are ‘happy to enforce’ the rules.  The HSE’s internal guidance on inspections is worth a read:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/ogprocedures/inspection/inspection-procedure.pdf

First Option can help with all aspects of production construction safety from implementing the CDM arrangements to ensuring contractors are working to the rules.  We provide PPE, mask face-fit testing, harness inspections and lots of other safety services to make sure productions are safe and legally compliant. 

Film and Real World Violence

The recent film, Blue Story, directed by Rapman (Andrew Onwubolu) and funded by BBC Films, narrates the tale of two friends from different parts of London, who become enemies in a violent postcode war.

The film sparked violence at a number of cinemas in the first 24 hours of it being released. During the opening night at Star City Multiplex in Birmingham, a group of youths, some brandashing machetes were involved in violence. The police reported that up to 100 teenagers were involved in the ‘major disorder’ and five teenagers were arrested in connection with the disturbance.

Vue Cinema decided to stop showing the film across their cinemas to prevent further incidents. This decision has provoked an angry response, with some, including Rapman, suggesting the ban is motivated by racism rather than safety.

Vue has said their decision was, ‘not one taken lightly or without careful consideration of our experience across the country…During the first 24 hours of the film over 25 significant incidents were reported and escalated to senior management in 16 separate films. Despite a range of precautionary measures in place, including increased security, removal of late-night showings and reduced screening of the film, the decision to withdraw Blue Story in its entirety was made on Saturday evening on grounds of safety alone’

They go on to say, ‘This decision is not, as some have alleged, based on biased assumptions or concern about the content of the film itself.  At Vue, we believe passionately in bringing people together and using the power of the big screen experience to entertain, educate and inspire all of our audiences.’

Rapman responded to the incident by posting on Instagram : ‘Sending love to all those involved in yesterday’s violence at Star City in Birmingham. It’s truly unfortunate that a small group of people can ruin things for everybody. Blue Story is a film about love not violence.’

He also made reference to incidents of violence that accompanied the release of the film Joker, ‘it’s always unfortunate, but I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.  I pray that we can all learn to love with love and treat each other with tolerance and respect’.

Warner’s Brother’s recent R-rated film, Joker also hit the big screen in the first week of October and has already grossed up to $1.036 billion in the box office worldwide.  But there was heightened security in theatres across the US, fearing that the film could be a potential trigger for violence.

The film has divided critics over the portrayal of mental health and violence, with some suggesting that the ‘sympathetic origin story’ of Arthur Fleck, a failing stand-up comedian with unstable mental health who turns to a life of crime by causing havoc in Gotham City, could inspire others to violence.

Relatives and friends of the victims of the 2012 shooting at the showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado have been particularly vocal in criticising the film’s portrayal of gun violence.  In a letter to Warner Brother’s CEO, Ann Sarnoff, they say, ‘We’re calling on you to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns.  We’re calling on you to be part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe’.

Warner Brother’s responded, ‘Make no mistake: Neither the fictional character Joker nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero. Gun violence in our society is a critical issues and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic. At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues.’

Many others have praised the film as an art piece. Josh Brolin from the Marvel Cinematic Universes stated, ‘To appreciate Joker I believe you have to have either gone through something traumatic in your lifetime (and I believe most of us have) or understand somewhere in your psyche what true compassion is’. Forbes names Joker the year’s best film: ‘Joker is an awesome accomplishment sure to please fans of the character and of the superhero genre, as well as average viewers just looking for a terrific film for adult audiences’.

The Face of Joker: Protests & Political Demonstrations

The pale face and sinister red smile of the Joker’s makeup has been used in protests around the world. In Chile, Lebanon, Hong Kong and Iraq protesters have been sporting masks, face paint and graffiti art in public demonstrations and protests against government corruption and elitism.

Artists in Lebanon and Iraq added the Joker to their posters and have edited the characters into visual content on social media.  A statue in Santiago, Chile has been sprayed painted with “We are all clownsâ€? and in Hong Kong protesters have dressed up as The Joker as an act of rebellion against the government ban of face masks and face coverings during public events.