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FIONA ARMSTRONG: Work and home life, it’s a risky business

Filming TV programmes can be more risky than you think.
Filming TV programmes can be more risky than you think.

Work sends me on a half-day risk assessment course this week.

It is a process that happens at regular intervals. And in this safety-conscious and litigious age, I know it is necessary.

When out filming there could be contamination from chemicals left lying around.

Then the cameraman could film too close to the edge of the mountain. Or we might meet a raging bull as we walk across a field.

Who would have thought there so many dangers lurking in TV production?!

Stay away from cliffs and animals

I have to say, most of it is common sense. Watching where you put your feet. Giving animals a wide berth. Staying back from sheer drops….

And, crucially, during the last year, taking care to follow Covid rules. Staying socially distanced from interviewees. Wearing a mask where appropriate.

Touch wood, most of my filming these days is straightforward as I am now to be found covering cultural and rural stories.

I am not working in war zones. Yet in times past there have been the more challenging shoots.

The paperwork was complicated…

Like abseiling down a cliff, as I once did for the cameras. The paperwork for that was complicated.

There was the filming down a lead mine. That took a while to pinpoint possible pitfalls.

And whilst, thankfully, I have never been on an actual battlefield, there was the trip to Cambodia to record the work of removing landmines. That also took a lot of thought.

As I say, all this fuss over health and safety at work is both necessary – and sensible.

Home can be risky too

And it makes me wonder whether we should be doing the odd risk assessments at home.

Because this week has been an accident-prone one.

First, I go flying after stepping on a plastic toy that has been carelessly left in the hall.

As I lie prostate on the floor the littlest MacNaughty who left said trip hazard thinks it a great game, and cones in to nibble my ear.

Next, I burn my arm on the oven door. Yes, mark that down on the health and safety sheet. Cookers can be hot, so it is wise to wear kitchen gloves at all times.

And then there’s the midges

Finally, there are the midges. I have been bitten all over, so these pesky ‘no-see-ums’ should always appear on a Scottish risk assessment.

Last year some two and a half million people went to UK A & E’s after suffering an injury in their house.

Indeed, I read that an accident is more likely to occur in the home than outside it. And the numbers are rising.

Then as we have been spending most of our time chez nous, that is not surprising.

The dog’s toys are put back in the basket. The oven is avoided for a few days. The midges – well, we just have to learn to live with the midges.

But seriously, with so many folk now working from home, how long will it be before our employees decide to not just risk assess our office – but our houses, too?!

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