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Australian Entertainment
Safety Resource Guide


The entertainment industry needs a reference guide how to meet itsí obligations under the current WHS legislation, Codes of Practice and Australian Standards.?

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Why do we need this?
The Live Performance Entertainment industry in Australia is employs almost 19,000 people full time and contributes substantially to the economy.

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Activities carried out by the various organisations cross every sector of manufacturing, construction, hospitality, logistics and of course entertainment.

As a result the number of WHS Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice and Australian Standards that could apply to every production is astounding and very confusing for anyone who doesn't deal with Work Health and Safety on a daily basis. What compounds the difficulty of finding answers is that rarely things are simple and straight forward and usually several different levels of information are required to find a solution to the problem or 'best practice' guidance.

Other than the now 15 years old Live Performance Australia “Safety Guidelines for Entertainment Industry” there are no safety guidelines for the entertainment industry. In 2012 the Event Safety Alliance Australia tried to bring people together to collectively write the Event Safety Guide for the entertainment industry by the entertainment industry but sadly failed to raise enough awareness, money and participation.

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What is it?
The Australian Entertainment Safety Resource Guide will be based on the UK 'Purple Guide' format. The Purple Guide, which was written by experts within the event industry, with Government guidance, was originally a 21 chapter document, first published in 1992, aiming to help companies, organisations and individuals who organise live events, such as the Glastonbury and V Festival, to ensure that the event runs safely. The document itself has now been revamped and includes 23 chapters.

The strength of the Australian Entertainment Safety Resource Guide is that it will go beyond the standard Work Health and Safety Act, covering not only health and safety legislation, but industry specific good practice and legislation such as Fire Safety, crowd management and alcohol licensing.
And it will not just be valuable for large festivals or concerts. Community theatres have the same obligations as Performing Arts Centres but not the same resources. A street festival has the same obligations as Vivid Sydney. A theatre company production has the same obligations as a large Arts Festival. And all will benefit from the Safety Resource Guide.
It is essential to keep in mind that it will be precisely that, a safety resource guide, a starting point providing advice on organising a safe event. The aim is to help you interpret the current Act and Regulation and implement the advice in the resource guide to meet your obligations.

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Why now?
In recent years we have seen a number of large scale disasters in the entertainment industry mostly overseas.Think about Pearl Jam at Roskilde in Denmark where 9 people died in a crowd crush, the Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick USA where 100 people suffocated and were crushed, Love Parade in Duisburg in Germany where 21 people were crushed to death or the collapse of the stage during the Indianapolis State Fair in Indianapolis USA which killed 7 people. And of course Jessica Michalik at the Big Day Out 2001 in Sydney. But also look at less publicised accidents in the entertainment industry like the 2003 rigging collapse before a Justin Timberlake concert in Atlantic City NJ, the Madonna roof collapse in Marseille France in 2009 or the Radiohead roof collapse in Toronto Canada in 2012.

We work in a high risk, high profile industry and anything that happens can quickly spread out of control. At present there is no set of industry ‘best practice’ guidelines by which the factors that lead to an accident can be measured. What this means is that if there were a serious incident that warranted an investigation, a whole bunch of people with little understanding of how the industry works will jump in and potentially cripple our industry – think ‘Lock-Out’ laws.

And it is not just the big events and the high risks, too often do I see people trying to do the right thing but being frustrated by not being able to find the answers they need or getting inconsistent answers. By creating a resource guide we can keep looking after each other and our industry in the best possible way. Sharing information will improve safety without unnecessary paperwork and increase everyone's enjoyment.

This is my main drive, to give everyone in the industry the right information to make an educated decision. This is not about adding more paperwork, this is about making it simpler to find the right answer and reducing paperwork so we can focus (pun intended) on what is important for the show. And still meet our obligations.

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Why me?
I started working in the performance industry in 1976 and have been part of this industry ever since. In 2002 I became heavily been involved in safety and risk management for the entertainment and event industry through my company Stage Safety pty ltd.
I have been a regular speaker at conferences and professional development meetings about safety in our industry and have earned a solid reputation.

I have the drive to make this happen because my biggest fear is that something can so easily go wrong that could have been prevented if the right information had been at hand. And I fear that is something seriously goes wrong we will loose control over our industry and how we run this industry.

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