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Health & Safety

In June 2020 FST convened an advisory group to provide clarity on Health and Safety matters for theatres & theatrical producing companies relating to COVID-19. 

The group is no longer meeting regularly. Following the lifting of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 protocols, we have retained the below for archives and future reference.

FST Health & Safety Surgeries
We run regular peer support surgeries focused on managing H&S risks. These are regularly promoted through our social media channels on Twitter and Facebook, and will also appear in the What’s On’ section when confirmed.

Technical Advisory Group on Safer Systems (TAGSS)
The Federation of Scottish Theatre and Festivals Edinburgh convened a Technical Advisory Group on Safer Systems, which helped to support the re-opening of the performing arts across Scotland by sharing information and good practice widely across the sector, and by providing a focal point for discussion with national authorities.  You can also find TAGSS COVID Checklists & Risk Assessments here.

COVID-19 Staff Awareness Toolkit
This Google Form checklist/toolkit was developed by the FST Health and Safety Advisory Group and ASE Consulting. The toolkit served as a resource that members could use to provide an introductory briefing/induction to their staff and others who work with them on the risks presented by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. All information was in line with guidance at the time of publication.
Find out more

H&S Training
A number of training providers offer Compliance Training, you can find links to these at the bottom of this page. FST Members are entitled to discounted rates from many providers, including UK Theatre/ SOLT. Our own FST Training funds can also be applied for to cover costs for H&S courses.

For further information on FST’s Health & Safety support, the H&S Advisory Group, and any of the above topics please contact:
Amanda Liddle, General Manager, amanda.liddle@scottishtheatre.org

Scottish Government Guidance

You can find a summary of the latest Scottish Government COVID-19 announcements on our COVID-19 Resources page.

Other useful links for guidance include:

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UK Government Guidance

The UK Government guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants can be found here.

Please note
This guidance is not applicable in Scotland, however, it is similar to the Scottish Government guidance and may be useful for reference. FST continues to work with UK Theatre and other professional bodies to advocate for as consistent an approach as possible across the entire UK sector.

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Professional Bodies Advice & Guidance

The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) is the UK’s principal professional body for backstage workers. They publish widely used guidance notes for many theatrical production and backstage activities. During COVID-19 many of these Guidance Notes are either FREE or low-cost to ensure as wide usage as possible.

  • Guidance notes 101 & 102
    COVID-19 Risk Assessments for Returning to Work in Places of Entertainment
    download here
  • Guidance note 103
    Production and Technical Departments Safe Working Procedures
    download here
  • Guidance note 104
    COVID-19 Returning to Work in Places of Entertainment: Guidance for Safe Working in Rehearsal & Production Environments
    download here
  • Guidance note 105
    COVID-19 Re-opening Places of Entertainment: Systems Inspections & Audit Checklist
    download here
  • Guidance note 106
    COVID-19 Re-opening Places of Entertainment: Fire Inspection Checklist
    download here

The ABTT also have a number of resources including example documents for arts organisations and commercial suppliers planning and risk assessment documents located here.


SOLT & UK Theatre have created an online platform which highlights a range of live and recorded webinars to equip the theatre industry with the tools to begin rebuilding after the COVID-19 lockdown ends, it also hosts links to Theatre specific Health and Safety Training. It is located here.


The Costume in Theatre Association has created safe return to work guidance and checklist – login (free) required to access.


The Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers has issued guidance on safely reoccupying buildings. They have specific guidance on ventilation a key part of managing the risks associated with Covid-19. You can find the link here

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Unions Advice & Guidance

All of the UK Unions have produced guidance for their members on returning to work and working safely with Covid-19. Each of the major arts unions’ guidance is listed below:

  • BECTU information can be found here
  • Musicians Union information can be found here
  • Equity information can be found here

Training

A number of training providers offer Compliance Training. The H&S Group will continue to review these and links will be posted here.

Please note: FST’s Online Training Funds can be applied for to cover the costs of courses. You can find out more about available funds here.

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