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Slovakia safe filming guidelines for protection against COVID-19

Updated: May 19

The Slovak Film Commission has granted actors and exception from wearing face masks, among other regulatory and safety guidelines recently established for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.


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SELF-REGULATORY GUIDELINES FOR RISK PROTECTION AGAINST CONTAGION OF SARS-COV-2


Presented proposal is based on the recommendation created by the European Institute for the Safety of Film Industry in collaboration with expert consultants. Following the proposed measures is also recommended by the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN).


The guidelines have been adopted by the leading audiovisual professional associations in Slovakia:



Commercials and Advertising production companies: PROTOS PRODUCTIONS, LEOPARD PRODUCTION, Globe production, EALLIN NOMAD Slovakia, playground13, cookie film and Hitchhiker Films


Version of the guidelines applicable for Slovak audiovisual industry was prepared in collaboration with:



Basic Safety Rules for Audiovisual Production


This document provides the basic methods for establishing technical and organizational measures for contagion prevention. Each filming is different; hence specific risk-based measures need to be established BEFORE it begins.


The guidelines below will be further specified and amended based on the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.


Introductory Note:


Even after the decrease or termination of government preventive measures, the risk of contagion - albeit to a lesser extent - will persist in the first weeks and months, if not longer.


It is common during a film shoot for different professions to participate in multiple projects simultaneously. Therefore, the risk on a film shoot is higher than in closed operations.


Possible treatment, unless there are serious complications, lasts 3-6 weeks and is accompanied by local quarantine measures. In addition to medical complications and work restrictions for the respective persons, the entire projects can be endangered with severe economic impact.


Thus, audiovisual producers take the proposed measures seriously and will follow them with full responsibility. The assessment of risks and the adoption of measures related to contagion must be part of the complex risk analysis in accordance with respective legislation.


In Slovakia: Labour Code no. 311/2011 Coll. and Act No. 124/2006 on Occupational Safety and Health.


Follow the risk assessment methods, and then determine the technical and organizational measures. Use the services of qualified professionals.


TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SAFE FILMING


1) TESTS FOR KEY CREW MEMBERS, ACTORS AND RELATED PROFESSIONS


Key crew members, all actors, stuntmen and possibly extras who come into contact with the actors should prove their state of health with a negative SARS-CoV2 test. Tests according to the doctor's recommendation must be in the form of swab, not rapid tests, which currently have low reliability.


For the tests to be relevant, it is essential that actors after testing adhere to the quarantine rules. In this context, it will be important to consider testing when scheduling filming.


a. Key crew members, actors, stunt doubles and stuntmen being part of the scenes with actors must undergo testing just like actors and follow the same rules. Key crew members are: director, director of photography, assistant director, and further professions as decided by the producer.


b. Extras in scenes without actors - they should have their own department; they must wear face masks except the shooting scene


c. Extras in scenes with actors - where the shot requires a distance shorter than 2 m - must undergo testing just like actors and they must be separated from the other extras.


d. Negative test in combination with adhering to the quarantine rules - can replace wearing a face mask - when necessary - for the key crew members. It is recommended to test the key crew members as their exclusion from filming, as a suspected infection could endanger the entire project.


e. Make-up - Make-up artists must have separately a set of make-ups for actors and people at points "a", "c" and "d" and separately for extras in scenes without actors. They are also required to wear respirators and protective gloves. It is recommended to consider having different make-up artists for actors and for extras.


2) PERSONAL PROTECTING EQUIPMENT (PPE)


Basic protective equipment can be divided into three categories: face mask, masks with filters and rubber / latex gloves. What to do: Determine which PPE you will use. Establish a system for the issuing, exchange and control of the use of PPE.


a. Face mask - count with 4 masks per 1 crew member over the 12-hour-long shoot day. Applies to every person present on the shoot, including external contractors.


b. Protective half mask with exhalation filter - An alternative to face masks for actors and crew is a protective half mask with inhalation and exhalation filter (easier breathing, filters can be cleaned, masks disinfected, higher protection standard than FFP3 and the crew member lasts longer when wearing it. It means lower costs, especially with a high number of filming days ahead).


c. Protective gloves against viruses and bacteria - construction department and other designated individuals must wear protective gloves. Hazardous surfaces that actors are going to touch must be disinfected. (For disinfection of premises we recommend supporting the construction department by temporary workers, for larger projects to hire specialized companies).


d. Protective gloves for other professions - crew members leaving the filming location (eg. production, drivers or runners, etc.) must be equipped with protective gloves to prevent contamination of the filming area.


3) PERSONAL DISINFECTION


It is important to follow the rules of personal hygiene during the filming. Same procedure applies as for PPE applies: determine which measures you will use. Establish a system for dispensing, replacing and controlling use.


a. Personal disinfection – if the scene being shot is extensive, crew members must carry pocket disinfectant wipes or a 30 ml bottle of personal disinfectant so they don’t have to leave during filming to hand disinfectant stands.


b. Hand disinfectant stands – stands with hand disinfectant gel need to be placed near the facilities, catering and directly on the set.


c. Disinfection of objects – when filming in a public space in the city and in a place with a high concentration of people, it’s recommended to consider space disinfection by spraying (especially for large productions).


d. Filming in vehicles etc. – Production should provide the disinfection of all vehicles, as well as the production should secure disinfection of the fleet that carries the crew and actors.


e. Workspace disinfection – when filming in exteriors, make-up and costume department should disinfect their working stations and chairs for actors.


f. Costume disinfection – it is important that the costumes undergo regular disinfection. The frequency will be dependent on the individual risk assessment


4. ON-SITE ORGANIZATION


It is necessary to take into account - especially in the first months - more space requirements for the use of locations in a public space, so that crew members can be separated, see point 2. At the same time, sufficient space must be available for the crew to eat so they can be spaced from each other. It is advisable to give priority to portable chairs over standard benches.


a. Separation of individual specific crew groups – key crew members, actors and other professions that are difficult to replace should be separated from the rest of the crew (e.g. they should have their own costume room, facilities, make-up room, catering area etc.).


Specific measures may vary from project to project and must be processed in an individual risk assessment.


b. Transhipment points – it is recommended for large projects to set up transhipment points dedicated for suppliers outside the set with the possibility of disinfecting transported material.


5. TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT


Every crew/cast member should undergo temperature measurement with a contactless thermometer before the start of the shooting day and before entering the shooting location. Any new incoming subcontractors undergo temperature measurement upon arrival. Human body temperature limits must be with accordance to the country specific health regulations.


6. CATERING


It is necessary to make sure that food can be distributed in a take-away fashion, when each crew member moves away from the catering after taking their food, so the social distancing rule can be adhered to. It is important to ensure that crew members have enough space when eating to follow rules of social distancing (including refreshments during the day). There is no need to have more than one catering place if all meals, including main meals are packaged separately.


7. SECURING THE LOCATION


Securing the location is divided into securing the location and location recce.


a. During filming on location – it is important to ensure a consistent and a secure lock-up to prevent any unauthorized personnel from entering.


b. During pre-production – when the crew is recceing potential locations the sites must be treated as if they were infected (unless they were disinfected ahead of the recce) and the crew must use PPE when recceing the site. The specifics to be defined in the risk assessment.


8. NECESSARY DOCUMENTATION


Each production should have these measures implemented in its risk assessments, and they should also require this implementation in risk assessments of their suppliers.


Legislation norms of risk assessment for the Czech Republic and Slovakia are available here: https://www.ohasfilm.cz/aktualni-projekty


If you need help with risk assessments, you can contact the European Institute for the Safety of Film Projects or contact an authorised H&S specialist in your country. Before filming commences, production and suppliers need to become familiar with the risks and measures for filming (not only in terms of the risk of infection).


This familiarisation must be confirmed in writing, for example by signing the attendance list during the briefing training. Obligations to comply with these precautions and submit SARS-CoV-2 tests must be implemented in contracts with individual members of crew, as well as any sanctions and liability for damages in case of non-compliance. Information boards such as below are recommended to be placed at the shooting locations.





Bearing in mind that this is a fundamental change in work-flow compared to the prepandemic time, reminder of measures in this form is important.


9. MANAGEMENT DURING FILMING


Measures adopted to secure any possible contagion must be coordinated at the filming location by a Film safety specialist or Occupational Health and Safety Manager or a trained authorized person who will be responsible for coordinating and supervising the anti-contagion measures. The differences between the individual coordinators in terms of competencies are as follows:


a. Film safety specialists – participated in creating risk assessment, they are able and qualified to creatively adapt measures of OSH to the needs of the script based on their knowledge of film technology, relevant issues and its need. They coordinate work with risk assessments of subcontractors and supervise correct documentation.


b. OHS Managers – are OHS qualified individuals for occupational safety management, they are qualified to modify the above measures - usually purely from the OHS perspective without an artistic context. They coordinate work with risk assessments of subcontractors and supervise correct documentation.


c. Trained authorized individuals (e.g. production) – they are only authorised to observe the established measures by following a checklist prepared at the beginning of the shoot. They are not authorised to change the measures, but to assure their compliance and to monitor the training documentation.


10. WASTE MANAGEMENT


Disposable face masks, gloves, etc. must be treated as hazardous waste - the used ones to be put into solid plastic bags and to be handled with protective gloves and then disposed of. When fabric face masks are used, the crew members must have sealable plastic bags and also the possibility of boiling them for sterilisation purposes.


If one of the members of the crew or subcontractors has violated or refused to comply with the security measures taken, they would be excluded from filming. The full support from the producer will be crucial when implementing these measures.


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