New Zealand’s vision is our vision – every person who goes to work comes home safe and healthy.

If you’re reading this you will know that film and television sets are demanding environments; whether working behind the scenes or in front of the camera, people are busy and processes can become rushed, increasing the possibility of risks. Even the simplest tasks can become dangerous.

These guidelines have one aim – the safety of every person who is part of a screen production, from the moment pen touches paper to the distribution of the final cut.

Safety is
everybody’s gain.


In 1992, the ‘Code of Practice for Safety and Health in the New Zealand Film and Video Production Industry’ (‘Code of Practice’) was developed, based on the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, under the supervision of a Project Committee and reviewed by an Industry Safety Code of Practice Committee. In addition, a wide range of industry-associated and government organisations participated in the preparation and review of the ‘Code of Practice’.

Given the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (the Act), which introduces new terms, responsibilities and ways of approaching health and safety, it is timely that the ‘Code of Practice’ for the screen sector be updated. These guidelines replace the ‘Code of Practice’. A second edition was published in 1995.

Introduction to the new Act and guidelines

While many within the screen sector won’t see a difference in their everyday work life, the way we approach health and safety is changing and it affects all of us.

Instead of focusing on hazard spotting, the new Act places importance on managing critical risks – how do we stop people from getting hurt? This means those peoplen responsible for an activity must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of those on and around the workplace. The Act doesn’t stop you from making movies, television shows, advertisements or documentaries, but does increase responsibilities to ensure risks are controlled to the greatest extent possible.

The very nature of the screen sector involves hazards and risk – from stunt work, use of technical machinery and pyrotechnics, to irregular and long hours, weather conditions and specialist products. No matter the scale of production it is up to everyone, from those running the show to those working on it, whether in front of or behind the camera, to ensure that it goes on as safely as possible.

These guidelines will help ensure everyone in the screen sector has a greater understanding of their responsibilities under the 2015 Act.

It’s about working smarter,
working together and
ensuring everyone gets
home healthy and safe.

Scope of the guidelines

These guidelines are for all persons and organisations that contribute to or are associated with screen production in New Zealand. This includes the organisations that supply studios, locations, materials, plant and equipment, production companies, agencies, funders, individual contractors and associations. The scope is limited to work conducted in New Zealand and includes pre-production, production and post-production. It also applies to international productions that conduct their business in New Zealand. These guidelines do not address health
and safety obligations for work undertaken outside of New Zealand, however these guidelines can be used to help promote safe and healthy work practices for work undertaken in other countries.

Not a substitute for the Act

These guidelines are not a substitute for the Act, or other relevant legislation, and every person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), officer and worker should be familiar with the provisions of the legislation and regulations relevant to their line of work. The information provided in these guidelines has been developed to complement legislative requirements for health and safety in New Zealand, primarily being the Health Safety at Work Act 2015 and its regulations. Should any sections require amendment, this will be undertaken through a formal process via the NZFTVG


These guidelines support the education of workers, in all disciplines, at all levels, in the value of safe working practices. Education is the cornerstone of any health and safety program; the more that we know, the more effectively we can identify specific needs and issues before they become problems.


These guidelines will continue to evolve and are subject to change. They do not provide the definitive answer or rules, but aim to provide best practice guidance.


The objectives of these guidelines are to:

  • provide an overarching source of health and safety guidance for the New Zealand screen sector that encourages and promotes:
    • a robust safety culture; and
    • compliance;
  • explain the Health and Safety Work Act 2015 so that everyone within the screen sector understands what it means to them;
  • set out duties and responsibilities for persons conducting a business or undertaking, officers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and workers;
  • outline health and safety expectations for specific roles and technical areas; and
  • provide guidance on risk assessments and considerations to be taken when planning for a production.

Description and layout

These guidelines outline legal and moral responsibilities, and provide procedures for identifying potential health and safety hazards and risks.

To provide easy access to the information, the guidelines are divided into sections.

  • Section one is an introduction as to why these guidelines exist – the history and why they need to be updated – as well as the objectives, scope and layout of the document. It details the importance of these guidelines and should be read by everyone in the screen sector.
  • Section two explains the outcomes we are all seeking and why everyone in the screen sector should take note of these guidelines.
  • Section three provides information at a glance on what you must know about the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Section four describes the new legislation in detail. It’s important that everyone is familiar with this section. It also describes different roles within a screen production and how the legislation may apply to them. Here you will also learn the new terms and definitions.
  • Section five covers specific technical areas, with each subsection divided into three parts – information universally applicable to everyone; guidance and considerations for those planning activities; and specific detail for people who need to know exactly what is expected of them in relation to a certain task.


Attached to these guidelines are a series of appendices, providing further health and safety information about assessments, overall planning considerations and reporting as well as
useful templates and checklists.

These guidelines have been developed following the relevant principles stipulated in the following legislation and associated regulations:

  • the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – the primary source of information in this document;
  • the Electricity Act;
  • the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996;
  • the Land transport Act; as well as
  • relevant regulations, guidance and standards.

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