ABTT launches new workplace guidance

The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has launched the third document in its ‘W’ for ‘Welfare’ series of Guidance Notes.  

Following work with RB Health & Safety Solutions and the AAPTLE Well-being Working Group during the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May 2024, ABTT Guidance Note W3 Mental Health and Well-being in the Workplace: Respect & Dignity Policy Template was launched at the “New Guidance: Revolutionising Physical Well-being and Mental Health” seminar on the 6 June 2024 at the annual ABTT Theatre Show.

ABTT Guidance Note W3 Mental Health & Well-being in the Workplace: Respect & Dignity Policy Template captures guidance for developing an organisational respect and dignity policy promoting a healthy working culture backstage.

Guidance Note W3 is part of the Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry in the UK which is produced by the ABTT with the support of the national Theatre Safety Committee, and which is recognised by the HSE as an Established Standard.

This is the third in the ABTT’s “W” series of Guidance Notes which deal with legal duties and best practices for ensuring the welfare of all workers. ABTT Guidance Note W1 was launched in May 2022 to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week and Guidance Note W2 was launched in November of the same year to coincide with International Stress Awareness Week.

“I’m happy to see the welfare series of guidance expand with the launch of the W3 guidance note. I’m passionate about adding much needed Health and welfare to our industry technical standards,” commented Mig Burgess Walsh, ABTT Co-Chair and Senior Lecturer at the Guildford School of Acting. “The respect & dignity policy & its 10 principals have been written to help us reset and redefine behaviour in the workplace.  Written for everyone from a students, crew room staff, designers and senior management.  Its goal is to see us unite and work together to make our industry a kinder, safer and more understanding place to work.  I hope the W3 guidance note can be used as a simple cost-effective way to create a cultural change towards well-being in the work place.”

“RB Health and Safety Solutions are proud to have supported the development of the ABTT’s latest Guidance Note W3,” added Richard Beale, Managing Director at RB Health and Safety Solutions. “We pride ourselves on providing high quality Health and Safety Advice and Training so working on this proactive guidance for a Respect & Dignity Policy which promotes the mental health and well-being of employees seemed to be a perfect fit. We are very pleased to be able to assist in adding this guidance to the Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry.”

“The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 quite clearly states: ‘2(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.’ As such it is important to note the core of this Guidance Note will become part of the Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry in the UK,” concluded Robin Townley, ABTT Chief Executive. “Many will be familiar with the ‘Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment’ which specifically states that ‘Good management is essential to ensure safety and health and welfare…’ The ABTT is incredibly grateful to our Co-Chair, Mig Burgess Walsh and all her collaborators for leading on this area of work and producing the latest Guidance Note in the ‘W’ series which provides a library of guidance on welfare to complement the material the ABTT has already published and will continue to develop on Health and Safety.”