WHAT IS A RISK ASSESSMENT?
A risk assessment is a systematic method of looking at work activities, equipment and workplaces that present a potential risk to employees or others who may be affected their activities. Suitable measures should be put in place to prevent or minimise loss, damage or injury in the workplace.
WHO DOES A RISK ASSESSMENT?
The head of department or key make-up artist and the production should carry out risk assessments before work commences.
The production must inform employees of any significant dangers and introduce the correct safety measures. The employee should co-operate with reasonable instructions from the employer, use tools and equipment properly and inform your employer (or another responsible person) if you are aware of any hazardous or potentially hazardous situations.
Insurance cover may not be applicable unless operatives are proven to be qualified (especially relevant to those doing work experience and not being paid). Do not take a job beyond your capabilities - competence is a prerequisite. The department head (or their representative) must be aware of the abilities of their staff.
RISK ASSESSMENT FORMS
NASMAH has produced easy-to-use risk assessment forms (PDF documents) for the different environments we work in. Simply download, print and complete:
The production should have well-publicised emergency procedures in place, but you have a responsibility too:
Ensure you are aware of what to do in an emergency - for fire evacuation, accidents and injuries;
Keep evacuation routes clear;
Have appropriate fire extinguishers in place;
Store all gas canisters safely;
Observe the no smoking rules.
FIRST AID & UNIT NURSES
There should always be a first aider and they should be noted on the call sheet.
Large productions should have a unit nurse or doctor (note: they are not health and safety reps).
There should be good paramedic cover for stunts and hazardous special effects, plus a sufficient number of trained first aiders.
HYGIENE & GOOD WORKING PRACTICES are essential to prevent cross infection, contamination of make-up products and to keep the workplace safe:
Make-up and tools must be used hygienically and should not be shared;
Principal artists should have their own make-up;
Other artists' make-up may be from a general stock, in which case the amount of product required should be taken with a clean, sterilised spatula or brush and placed into a container or onto a clean palette.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
Hands should be washed, and seen to be washed, between each make-up. A small bottle of hand disinfectant is useful on set.
MAKE-UP BRUSHES & TOOLS
Separate make-up brushes, sponges and puffs must be used for each artist and must be cleaned and disinfected before being used on someone else. There are disposable brushes, mascara wands, sponges and puffs available, as well as disposable disinfectant brush wipes that sterilise brushes. Scissors, tweezers and other metal tools can be disinfected with IPA.
HAIR TOOLS & CLIPPERS
Barbicide should be available for disinfecting combs and hair brushes after use. Clippers and electric razors must be disinfected between uses. A 'dust off' air spray (used for the camera lens) is good for getting hair out of clippers.
CHECK FOR ALLERGIES & CONTACT LENSES
Check with artistes before a make-up commences if they have any allergies and whether or not they wear contact lenses. Do test patches for substances like latex and hair tints.
You should be aware of what infectious conditions look like and how they are caused. Any infectious condition must be dealt with carefully so as not to put yourself or others at risk of infection. Disposable brushes should be used on cold sores and disposed of correctly.
TOWELS & GOWNS
There should be an adequate supply of clean towels and these should not be shared if faces are being cleaned. Do not leave dirty towels or gowns lying around.
When dealing with and making up children, all permission (even for the smallest effect) must come from the child's parent or legal guardian and no one else.
USEFUL LINKS AND CONTACTS
HEALTH & SAFETY LEGISLATION
The Health & Safety Executive website has a wealth of information about health and safety legislation, your legal rights and how to protect yourself at work
SKIN, SCALP & EYE CONDITIONS
Wikipedia is a great resource for details on all conditions and infectious diseases. Here are some of the conditions you may come across during your career:
R i s k A s s e s s m e n t s
M a k e - u p V e h i c l e s
H y g i e n e
Health and safety is an important aspect of your working life - know your responsibilities and that of others to prevent accident, injury and illness
W o r k i n g w i t h K i d s
E m e r g e n c i e s
CHECKING MOBILE MAKE-UP VEHICLES
Mobile make-up vehicles (trailers or caravans) should be checked, preferably by the person hiring the vehicle, that all the relevant certificates for insurance, gas safety, electrical appliances and so on are valid/current and that the drivers are of the required standard with the correct licence.
Access to vehicles should be via stable non-slip steps with a handrail;
There should be good working space and ventilation in the vehicle;
No trailing leads to electrical equipment;
Appliances must not be covered when in use;
Fire extinguishers and first aid kits should be prominent;
Fire exits and doors must be kept clear;
Gas bottles must be stored correctly (usually outside the vehicle);
Make-up staff must arrange for a sharps bin (for sharp items like used razors and glass) and a flammables waste bin (for IPA, acetone and other such waste). Both must be labelled correctly. Do not put spirits in the nearest bin or down the sink.
Use NASMAH's downloadable forms for the different environments we work in - see the column left under "Risk Assessment Forms".
As more of us are using an airbrush as a form of make-up application, it's vital we take this into account when doing risk assessments.
Airbrushing pushes both carriers and pigments into the air surrounding both the make-up artist and their subject. Therefore, good ventilation is essential, especially if more than one airbrush is being used. Windows should be opened and, if possible, an extractor fitted. In mobile make-up vehicles and rooms, roof vents should be opened and an extractor should be available. In tents or locations make-up rooms, make sure tent flaps are left open and fans are available.
Ventilation is most important.
When airbrushes are used in garages, protective clothing and masks are compulsory. We don't use anything presently to protect ourselves - make sure your working environment is safe.
A i r b r u s h i n g