Rory Kinnear calls for improved health and safety on film sets

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Bond actor Rory Kinnear has joined calls for a revamp to set health and safety in the wake of several high-profile accidents in the film and TV industry.

Rory Kinnear has joined a number of industry figures looking to improve set safety in the film and television industry in an interview with the BBC.

His comments come more than thirty years after his own father, actor Roy Kinnear, was thrown from a horse and killed while filming The Return Of The Musketeers in 1988.

“Thirty years later, things simply haven’t changed,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of young people wanting to enter an industry that they know is perilous, both financially and in terms of work, but not necessarily aware of how perilous the practices on set are as well.

“Now is the time for this opportunity to be taken in terms of understanding that we don’t need to exclude excitement or creativity or invention for safety, that the two can and must work together.”

Kinnear joins industry figures including the president of the British Society of Cinematographers, Christopher Ross, who told the BBC:

“Film sets nowadays are starting to look more and more like construction sites – all the rigging, towers, cranes… every minute of every day you’re on a film set you will encounter dangers that you may not have been educated about and the film industry needs to take proper responsibility for that.”

A questionnaire sent to Bectu members this year asked 730 people to answer questions about set safety.

When it asked members if they had ever felt their safety or that of a colleague had been compromised at work, more than 700 of them said that they had.

One grip, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the BBC: “I’ve been on several shoots where risk assessments haven’t been done until after filming is complete. Time pressure schedules always override health and safety.”

IATSE Vice President Michael Miller echoed similar sentiments after the shooting of Halyna Hutchins in 2021. “Too often, the rush to complete productions and the cutting of corners puts safety on the backburner and puts crewmembers at risk”, he said.

In the UK, BBC Studios reached a settlement with Freddie Flintoff in October after the presenter was involved in a crash while filming the latest series of Top Gear. The accident came after Richard Hammond was seriously injured on the same show in 2006.

“Television makers have to be aware that you’re not in some special bubble just because you’re making a TV show, and things can and do go wrong. Just like when my tyre blew at that speed – it’s going to be bad”, Hammond said of Flintoff’s accident last month.

Using the end of the recent strike action as a chance to reassess practices, Bectu and the Milsome Foundation have suggested money be set aside to ensure industry workers are properly trained for the dangerous situations they find themselves in.

Training body ScreenSkills and the Mark Milsome Foundation have suggested the implementation of a health and safety ‘passport’ which could be digitally added to CVs to make checking qualifications easier.

“I would love for there not to be another death on a film set,” Ross added. “That would be a great legacy – if everybody can combine so that no-one else dies on a film set unnecessarily and no-one else is injured in a life-changing way on a film set.”

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