Writing a risk assessment
An introduction to writing a risk assessment as a music professional
Last updated: 05 January 2021
Following the government announcement of a new lockdown period from 5 January, you can find out what we know so far on our news story.
Updated 23 November 2020
New restrictions will apply in Northern Ireland from Friday 27 November until Friday 11 December.
Schools and other education settings will remain open.
Further and Higher Education institutions should deliver distance learning to the maximum extent possible.
Only essential face-to-face learning should take place when it is a necessary and unavoidable part of the course.
Updated 18 November
The Scottish Government updated on 30 October guidance on reducing risks of coronavirus transmission in schools. A PDF of this guidance is also available, and has numbered paragraphs for ease of reference. The paragraph numbers below relate to the PDF version.
Members should note the following:
Movement between schools (paragraph 94):
Movement between schools (eg of temporary/supply/peripatetic staff etc) should be kept to a minimum. Those providing essential services key to the delivery of children’s care or educational plans, for example visiting teachers, psychologists, nurses, social workers, youth workers and those providing therapeutic support, should be able to visit schools; however, appropriate mitigations to prevent transmission of the virus in and between settings should be undertaken. Mitigations should be determined via a risk assessment carried out by the school in co-operation with the service provider.
Implications for music in schools
The new guidance refers to the latest publication (30 October) from the specialist advisory group on physical education music and drama.
While stating that there is a lack of evidence about the role and relative risk of singing, and playing musical instruments, the transmission of COVID-19, a relatively risk-averse position has been adopted.
This guidance states that music should take place only in situations where activities can comply with the low risk criteria in this guidance (reproduced below).
No large group lessons or activities
In addition, it states clearly in respect of ensemble activities that 'Choirs, orchestras and group drama performances should not recommence at this point' and 'It is our advice that young people should not engage in drama, singing, or playing wind and brass instruments with other people, given these activities pose a potentially higher risk of transmission. However, this does not mean that these activities cannot take place at all, it simply means that a more creative approach should be taken to providing such lessons.' Various mitigations are suggested.
Other musical activities
The Advisory Group guidance states the following:
'For music and drama, there is a sliding-scale of risk associated with different activities. Only when there is a combination of low-risk factors in place should the activity go ahead. Large group activities and those where no distancing can take place between adults or between adults and pupils, should not be re-introduced in the meantime.'
The table of criteria below sets out the risk factors.
|Low risk||High risk|
|Outdoors or virtual activities (e.g. recorded performances, outdoor creative dance, use of awnings/gazebos)||Indoor activities in enclosed spaces (e.g. unventilated classrooms, studios)|
|Normal breathing and volume of speech (e.g. piano playing, mime)||Higher volume or aerosol-generating activities (e.g. singing, debating, wind/brass instruments)|
|Individual or small numbers involved|
(e.g. solo performance, string quartet)
|Large group (e.g. choir or orchestra)|
|Any equipment is used only by one person (e.g. pupil and teacher have their own personal instruments; actors have their own costumes)||Equipment is shared (e.g. keyboards, shared percussion, shared props). Risk is lessened if equipment can be fully cleaned between each use.|
|Distancing possible between all participants||Physical distancing not possible|
Updated 18 November 2020
Wales ended its firebreak on 9 November as planned. Read the Welsh Government announcement here.
All schools, further education colleges, work-based learning and adult learning providers can return to the same model of operation as before the firebreak. Universities can continue to provide a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.
An employer has a statutory duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. In order to do so, an employer must carry out a risk assessment, in line with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidance.
If you are an ISM member and you or your colleagues have concerns or questions about any of this please contact us at [email protected]