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General approaches to reducing risk

When it comes to theater productions, safety should always be a top priority. From the actors to the crew, everyone must feel secure while performing their tasks. To minimize the likelihood of accidents, we must identify potential hazards and come up with effective solutions to mitigate them. Let’s explore the general approaches to reducing risk backstage.


The first approach to reducing risk backstage is the elimination of hazards. This means identifying potential risks and eliminating them from the environment completely. For instance, if there is a faulty electrical wire in the backstage area, it should be immediately removed or replaced. Other examples of elimination include removing hazardous chemicals or substances from the area and prohibiting the use of dangerous equipment.


The substitution approach involves replacing hazardous items or activities with safer alternatives. For example, if a heavy lighting fixture is too difficult to lift and poses a risk to the crew, it could be replaced with a lighter one that can be easily handled. Similarly, a hazardous chemical could be substituted with a less dangerous one that still accomplishes the same goal. By substituting dangerous elements with safer options, we can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

Engineering Controls:

Engineering controls refer to the use of physical barriers, equipment, or other methods to prevent hazards from occurring. This approach includes designing the backstage area in a way that minimizes risk. For instance, handrails can be installed on stairs to prevent falls. Additionally, equipment such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems can be installed to control potential fires. By utilizing engineering controls, we can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring.

Administrative Controls:

The administrative approach to reducing risk backstage involves creating policies and procedures that promote safety. This approach includes training personnel on safety practices, creating safety guidelines, and enforcing strict safety protocols. For example, creating a policy that prohibits the use of hazardous equipment unless authorized and trained can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents. By implementing administrative controls, we can ensure that everyone follows safe practices while working backstage.

Personal Protection Equipment:

The final approach to reducing risk backstage is personal protection equipment (PPE). This approach involves providing the crew with protective gear that will help prevent injuries. PPE includes items such as helmets, gloves, and goggles. For example, if a crew member is handling hazardous chemicals, they must be provided with appropriate gloves to prevent chemical burns. By providing PPE, we can ensure that everyone is protected from potential hazards.

Avoid Risk:

To avoid risks means to identify potential hazards and avoid them entirely. For example, if there is a hazard on a certain stage, the production crew should avoid using that stage altogether. Similarly, if there is a risk associated with a particular scene, the scene could be rewritten or removed entirely.

Decrease Frequency:

Reducing the frequency of hazards is another way to mitigate risk. For example, if a particular piece of equipment is known to cause injuries, the production crew could limit its use. By decreasing the frequency of exposure to hazards, we can reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Reduce Severity:

If an accident does occur, it is essential to minimize its severity. This approach includes preparing for emergencies by having a well-stocked first-aid kit and trained personnel to handle medical emergencies. Additionally, proper signage should be in place to ensure that emergency exits are easily identifiable.

Separate Risk:

Separating risk means to create physical barriers between hazards and the production crew. For example, hazardous chemicals should be stored in a separate area away from the production crew. Additionally, stage props and equipment should be stored in a separate area to prevent accidents from occurring.

Duplicate or Backup Key Assets:

Creating backups of essential equipment is essential in case of a malfunction

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