Written by Edwin Davis.

In 2013 I learnt an important lesson on perceived safety and danger on construction and mining sites.

It began with a video we produced on Arrium Mining’s (previously OneSteel) Whyalla Port Expansion project in South Australia. We were engaged by Leighton Contractors (now CPB) to produce a testimonial video showcasing their involvement in the project.

We’d conducted an interview with the Arrium General Manager as well as the Port Manager, and had visited the site in Whyalla for a day to capture all the footage required for the video.

It was then during the editing and post-production stage that I received some important feedback from the customer after sending the first draft through.

Some of the footage we captured had been flagged by the customer as representing workers in an unsafe setting.

Why the footage was unsafe

The footage showed construction crew working from heights, with the camera positioned beneath them as they worked from above.

Although they were working safely and had all the correct harness and safety gear on, the footage we’d captured was inadvertently filmed in a way that potentially showed a perceived danger in the video.

It looked as though the workers were untethered, as their harnesses were obscured in the footage and their position looked somewhat precarious.

I realised that although we knew the work was being undertaken safety, people watching the video would not have seen the full picture as we’d seen from onsite, and viewers could have questioned the safety of the operations.

So we quickly removed this footage from the video, and replaced it with alternative footage.

What I learnt

From that point onwards, my lesson was learnt:

  1. Be very conscious of the footage you’re capturing when filming on a mine and construction sites. Ensure that all actions and activity you film are undertaken in a safe manner.
  2. Be aware of any potential or perceived dangers. Even if it might look ok to you onsite, be aware of how it could be perceived by a viewer in the final video. Go the extra mile to ensure it looks and is 100% safe on video.
  3. Don’t be afraid to speak up on site. Ask to move to a different location to capture a clearer angle. Adjust your video framing and composition to accentuate safety protocols, PPE and exclusion zones.
  4. Communicate confidently with onsite crew to ensure they’re wearing correct PPE and working in a safe manner. Don’t hesitate to ask them to slow down or repeat a task to ensure it looks 100% safe on video

Our approach today

Filming safely on a mine siteAt Pure Gold Films, we take safety seriously. Safety is everybody’s responsibility, and we understand how important safety is to our customers and their people.

We take a pro-active, safety-first approach, always working in a safe manner onsite, and never taking unacceptable risks or cutting corners.

Our camera crews arrive on site with the correct PPE, and complete a thorough risk assessment (JSA) prior to beginning any filming work.

Whether it’s working near heavy machinery or working from heights, we understand every site has its specific requirements when it comes to safety.

By understanding these requirements, and planning our productions accordingly, we’re able to capture great video content in safe manner.