Euro Heatwave Latest: Major Studios Issue Health & Safety Guidelines As Union Officials Report Influx Of Concerned Members

·4 min read

Major studios have issued health and safety guidance to their producers in the sweltering European heat as union officials report an influx of members getting in touch.

Some of the continent’s largest super-indies have sent out guidelines on taking breaks, drinking water, air conditioning, re-staging scenes, clothing and medical recommendations around spotting the signs of heat stroke amidst the hottest European temperatures on record, topping 100F today.

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In the UK, which in the past few minutes has hit its hottest temperature of all time, spokespeople for BBC Studios and ITV Studios said guidance has been shared with producers over the past few days.

Deadline has yet to hear of a production that has had to pause due to the heat but one British union official told Deadline he had spent the entirety of yesterday fielding calls from concerned members, some of whom queried whether they had a right to refuse to come into work.

The calls mostly came from people working in props or make-up departments, roles for which staffers have to be on their feet all day and are often based in small indoor rooms lacking air conditioning for long hours.

Extras were also raising concerns, according to the official. Some were taking part in shoots for which they had to don hot clothing, waiting hours for their scenes to film.

ITV Studios’ recommendation package included five-minute hydration breaks between scenes, while BBC Studios urged producers to “move filming schedules around to avoid the hottest parts of the day as well as consider filming indoors or somewhere cooler.”

Last week, UK broadcasting union Bectu issued a statement calling on employees “to have appropriate measures” in place to ensure a safe working environment.

Rain and lower temperatures are due tomorrow and this will be a welcome respite for the thousands of staff working on TV shows and films in the UK during what has been an incredibly busy summer for the industry.

“The Least Of Our Worries”

July and August are also key months for shoots in France and the rest of the continent but for now productions have been taking the heat in their stride.

“Quite frankly, after Covid and everything else that has happened, it’s the least of our worries. Of course, if we were shooting in a forest and there was a fire it would be another matter,” commented France-based Production Manager Raphaël Benoliel from the set of the third season of Netflix’s Emily In Paris.

“It’s irritating but we’ve planned for it, making sure we’ve got lots of water and that the crew is keeping properly hydrated, but it won’t have an impact on our timetable,” he said.

“Perhaps, when you have scenes with lots of extras, or out in the open under sun, or a costume drama with heavy costumes, it could be problematic, but I personally don’t have any productions underway facing these challenges right now.”

Stéphane Bedin, Deputy Director of French technician body FICAM, also stressed business as usual. “We’ve sent the Labour Ministry’s guidelines about the precautions to take in the case of a heatwave to all our members,” he said.

“It’s the responsibility of companies to put in place measures like providing ventilation, supplies of fresh, drinkable water and areas of shade,” said Bedin.

“It’s the summer and we’re used to heat but if these bouts of extreme heat increase, perhaps we will have to organise things more strictly, but for now everyone is adapting.”

In the entertainment sector, UK rock band Coldplay pushed on with its record-breaking four night tour (July 16-17 and July 19-20) at Paris’s Stade de France soccer stadium, performing to an 80,000 thousand capacity each night.

Fans were advised to stay hydrated, bring water, wear loose fitting clothes and a hat, and to slap on the sunscreen on the tour site.

Elsewhere in the capital, Brad Pitt was in town on Monday evening (July 17) for the French premiere of Bullet Train at the Grand Rex cinema.

Wildfires

The rain will also be a welcome respite for firefighters across the continent who have been battling a spate of wildfires.

South-West France has experienced some of the worst fires of the past week with two separate blazes in the dense pine forests just south of Bordeaux, around the towns of La Teste-de-Buch and Landiras. More than 1,700 firefighters from across France were drafted into the region to the tackle the fires, which broke out last week and have since destroyed a combined 42,000 acres (17 hectares) of forest.

Around 32,000 people have been ordered to leave the popular holiday destination, while the local Zoo du Bassin d’Arcachon, which is home to 1,000 animals, has been temporarily closed until further notice and preparations are underway for a potential evacuation.

In the French capital of Paris, the mercury was forecast to hit 105.8F (41C) on Tuesday, ahead of a welcome 20F drop on Wednesday.

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