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Ensuring the Safety of Children in the Performing Arts: Guidelines and Standards

The performing arts sector provides a platform for children to express themselves, develop their artistic abilities, and showcase their talent. However, it is crucial to ensure the safety of children in this industry. Education is the largest sector of performing arts, where children participate in music, drama, dance, and theater performances. Despite the many benefits of children’s participation in performing arts, hazards such as fumes, smoke, loud noises, slip and fall hazards, electrocution, and fire hazards can pose risks to their safety. Therefore, it is essential to implement appropriate measures to mitigate such risks.

It is important to remember that students are children, and their bodies are still developing, making them more susceptible to hazards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children’s bodies are more susceptible to hazardous materials because of their small size, immature organ systems, and higher respiratory rate (CDC, 2021). As such, minimizing exposure to hazards is crucial to protect children’s health and safety.

To ensure the safety of children in the performing arts, it is essential to adhere to the Standard of Care. This standard requires the implementation of reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable harm to children. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “the Standard of Care is the level of care and caution a reasonable person would use in similar circumstances” (NIOSH, 2017). Therefore, it is crucial to identify potential hazards, assess the associated risks, and implement measures to control those risks.

In addition to adhering to the Standard of Care, specific guidelines can promote a higher standard of care for students. For example, equipment should be age-appropriate, correctly installed, and adequately maintained. Costumes and props should also be safe and fit correctly to prevent trip hazards and other risks. These guidelines can help to create a safe and positive environment for children to explore their creativity while mitigating potential risks.

Codes and workplace standards are typically designed for adults and may not be suitable for children. Therefore, it is crucial to take extra care when implementing safety measures in a performing arts setting. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “employers must recognize that children are not small adults and may not have the same ability to recognize and avoid hazards as adults” (OSHA, 2010). Thus, providing clear instructions and guidance can help prevent accidents and promote safety.

Finally, deferred maintenance can create new hazards, and it is essential to prioritize regular inspections and maintenance. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “lack of proper maintenance or repairs may create additional hazards that can affect the safety of occupants” (NFPA, 2016). Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify potential hazards and address them promptly.

In conclusion, promoting the safety of children in the performing arts requires implementing appropriate measures to mitigate potential risks. Adhering to the Standard of Care, implementing guidelines, accounting for children’s unique needs and abilities, and prioritizing regular inspections and maintenance are crucial in ensuring a safe and positive environment for children to explore and express their creativity.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Children’s Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/kids/default.html

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2017). Occupational Safety and Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site Activities. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/88-114/default.html

National Fire Protection Association. (2016). NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. Retrieved from https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards/detail?code=101

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2010). Child Labor in Entertainment. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/entertainment/child-labor-entertainment.

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