Childminder Duties on Film Sets: Working Conditions

Over the last two weeks, we looked at the working hours and safety requirements for children working on film and in the performing arts sectors. We discussed the requirements laid out in Section 44 and 45 of the BCEA Regulations but let’s take it one step further and have a look at the additional requirements set out in section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993.

Risk Assessment

Every employer who employs or provides work to a child worker, or permits any child worker to work at any place under their control, or with any machinery under their control, must in respect of such work undertake a risk assessment process which
must at least include the following:

  •  Identifying the risks and hazards to which any child worker may be exposed.
  • Analysing and evaluating the risks and hazards that are identified
  • Preparing and implementing:
  • A documented plan of safe work procedures to remove, mitigate, reduce or
    control the risks and hazards that have been identified.
  • A monitoring plan
  • A review plan.

The following factors must be taken in to account when making the risk assessment:

  • The increased biological sensitivity of children to chemicals, biological agents, carcinogens and hormone disruptors. The increased vulnerability of children to sleep disruption
  • The vulnerability of children to direct and indirect coercion or abuse from any person, particularly when working alone.
  • The relative lack of experience and maturity of children in making safety judgments.
  • The reduced ability of children to adapt to inflexible work routines.
  • The reduced ability of children to perceive dangers correctly.
  • The reduced capacity of children to understand safety messages.
  • Whether the design of any machinery, tools, equipment and protective equipment
    is appropriate for children’s stature.
  • The implications of children working at the period when their skeletal structures
    and bones are still developing.
  • Children’s physical development in relation to ergonomics, in order to ensure a healthy and safe working environment.
  • The physiological, hormonal and other vulnerabilities of children at puberty.

In the risk assessment process, the employer must have regard to the guidelines contained in Schedule 1 to the Health and Safety of Children at Work Regulations issued in terms of the OHSA.

childminders for film risk assessment.jpg

Respiratory Hazards

A child worker may not undertake any work where a person over the age of 17 performing the same work would be required in terms of the OHSA to wear respiratory protection equipment, i.e. equipment such as masks that protects workers from inhaling hazardous dusts or fumes.

Work in an Elevated Position

  • A child worker may not work at a height of more than 5 metres above the floor/ground.
  • A child worker working at a height of more than 2 metres from the floor/ground must work under the supervision of the employer or a competent adult employee, and reasonable fall protection must be provided, such as a safety harness or railings.

Lifting of Heavy Weights

A child worker performing any work may not, as part of their work, lift an object weighing more than:

  • The lesser of 15 kg or 20 % of the child’s body weight
  • More than 7,5 kg more than once per minute.
  • A child worker may not lift objects weighing more than 5 kg at work for more than 2 hours without being granted a 30-minute  period in which he or she is not required to lift such a weight.

childminders for film - safety regulations.jpg

Work in a Cold Environment

The employer of a child worker working in an environment below the following actual dry-bulb temperature must be supplied with suitable protective warm clothing:

  • 0°C where the work involves repeated entry into, or presence for more than
    two minutes in such environment.
  • 6°C where the work involves repeated entry into, or presence for more than
    one hour in such environment.
  • The protective warm clothing supplied to a child worker must comply with Regulation 2(2)(b)(i) to (vi) of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces.

Work in a Hot Environment

No person may require or permit a child worker to work or perform hard manual labour where the average temperature over one hour exceeds 30 ̊C unless the child:

  • Is acclimatised to such working environment before he/she is required or permitted
    to work in such an environment.
  • Has drink breaks every 15 minutes.
  • Is cognisant of the need to drink at least 150ml of liquid every break, and the
    employer provides the child with the necessary liquids.
  • The term ‘average temperature’ referred to here is technically the time-weighted average WBGT index as defined in the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces, made in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993, and determined over a period of one hour.

Work in a Noisy Environment

No person may require or permit a child worker to perform any work involving an exposure to a noise level in excess of 80 dB(A) unless the child is supplied with hearing protective equipment that complies with regulation 12 of the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations, made in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993. DB(A) is a unit used in measuring noise, and takes into account how often loud noises are heard, even if an environment is not noisy all the time.

Power Tools and Cutting or Grinding Equipment

  • A child worker may not use any power-driven machinery or power tool, or any cutting or grinding equipment unless a risk assessment conducted in terms of the regulations has determined that its use is safe and without significant risks for the child.
  • If the risk assessment indicates that the power tool or other equipment is safe and without significant risks for the child worker to use, if used with safety equipment or facilities, the child:
    • Must be provided with the necessary safety equipment and facilities that are
      usually required in terms of occupational health and safety regulations.
    • Must be instructed in the use, maintenance and limitations of such equipment
    • Before starting such work the child worker must receive adequate training in the safe and appropriate use of the power tools or machinery from a person competent in their use.
    • The child worker must be supervised by a competent person when using power tools or other equipment.
    • An inspector may issue a notice prohibiting the use by child workers of any power tool or other machinery.

childminders for film  - no power tools.jpg

View the Resource for this article here.

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Written By: Bianca Steyn

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