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Risk Assessment for Touring Musicians

What a Risk Assessment for touring and performing away from your main place of work should look like.

Last updated: 05 May 2021

A Risk Assessment (RA) should be taken well in advance of any tour. The responsibility is on your employer to carry out a RA of a tour and the individual places where your performances will be held.

Before the tour, safety reps should request a copy of the RA their employer should have undertaken, and check with the MU for advice on whether it is adequate.

If we can get an early sight of the RA, we can assist in making sure all the issues are covered. Where there is no RA, ensuring one is provided must be a priority before the tour starts.

If you have concerns about touring health & safety matters, you should get in contact with the MU’s Live Department by emailing live@theMU.org. If you are an Orchestral safety rep you should get in touch with orchestral@theMU.org.

Risks to consider when planning a tour

It is the responsibility of your employer to undertake and provide the RA, but it may be useful to know the basics of what it should cover. Being familiar with these potential risks may also help in the initial planning of a tour.

The following should be taken into consideration when planning any tour:

Travel and rest arrangements

  • The effect of travel on performers and required rest and recovery periods
  • Noise whilst travelling
  • How to provide or arrange food and refreshment whilst travelling
  • The effect of time variations, including jet-lag
  • Any manual handling required and how any lifting can be minimised
  • Making sure there are adequate toilet and washing facilities
  • Making sure all vehicles provided are to a proper standard both mechanically and for passenger comfort
  • Problems with lengthy inactivity particularly in pressurised environments, such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • The additional risks of travelling on water, and making sure that proper safety equipment and clear emergency procedures are in place

Provision of food and liquids

  • Making sure there is access to adequate food and drink at appropriate times and including enough time to consume them
  • Food allergies etc
  • Making sure all liquids and food are hygienic

Security

  • Making sure there is secure transportation to and from airports, stations, workplaces, and required meetings or social events
  • Security for individuals or groups
  • Making a detailed assessment when special local circumstances apply – for example risks from local criminals or where high security situations arise
  • Taking measure to reduce potential risks – e.g. access to local currency or advice on not using mobiles on the street
  • Finding local, competent advice on these issues

Pollution

  • Treating pollution similarly to any other Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) issue
  • Identifying the specifics of the pollutants involved and then obtaining the specifically suitable protective equipment
  • Supplying suitable temporary generic protection where specific pollutants can’t be identified – and further measures that may need to be taken if players remain affected
  • Paying special attention to those with any breathing/lung etc problems (in the risk assessment this will be additional and always secondary to any medical advice given)

Infection and other medical risks

  • Getting full specialist advice about the places to be visited and briefing players in advance
  • Taking specific, tailored medical advice in advance of the tour
  • Giving sufficient time for injections or other treatments needed prior to travel
  • Making proper protective treatment available and considering extra arrangements if anyone is particularly affected by any of the risks
  • Access to a doctor with specialist knowledge of musicians

Temperature and humidity

  • Making sure that players are not exposed to unreasonable temperatures, whether hot or cold
  • Making sure players have enough liquids in high temperature environments
  • The effect of heat on fatigue levels
  • The interaction between temperature, humidity and pollution concerns
  • Players clothing

Some of these issues may require more detailed consideration where risks are higher. For example, security issues can vary greatly from place to place, both for individuals and for the group as a whole.

Medical provision on tour

If there is no doctor travelling with the group, then access needs to be arranged in advance to a doctor with specialist knowledge of musicians and in whom all parties have trust and confidence. This could simply be a contact who is available to give advice at all times by phone.

There may be excellent medical advice available locally, but finding it – and all parties having confidence in it – can present problems, particularly when swift responses are important. Having a pre-arranged doctor to contact may help with talking to local medical practitioners about the particular case.

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