Health and Safety

As you would expect for a public event involving fire and members of the public, it is essential that due care and attention be paid to health and safety issues.

In the run-up to an event, the group organisers produce a document listing the possible health and safety issues their group may face, and how they expect to deal with them. These documents are passed to Production for collation into the over-all event safety document which becomes part of the event plan as seen by EPOG and the Council.

Shortly before the event, one or two health and safety briefings are held. Attendance at one of these briefings is a mandatory requirement for all participants in Beltane Fire Society events.

The briefings usually take the form of an introduction to concepts of health and safety, followed by a rundown of the event from the H&S point of view: the need for performers to be responsible for their own safety, fireproofing of costumes and props, location of First Aid facilities, etc.

Finally, all performers fill in and sign a form acknowledging that they have attended the briefing. While the form changes in detail from year to year, the main outline tends to be as follows:

Beltane Fire Society 2010

Participant Health and Safety Agreement

Beltane Fire Society has negotiated with Edinburgh City Council for this event to happen.

The information recorded in this document is for the sole use of the Beltane Fire Society and you.

Please sign the attached sheet, to indicate you understand and agree to the points below.

  • I have rehearsed my role within the eevent and know the specific Health and Safety risks, and have taken the respective precautions. I understand that there are inherent risks associated with performing on rough ground, using or being amongst fire, performing acrobatics and other activities associated with my performance. I will be held responsible for my own actions, I will not hold Beltane Fire Society responsible for Death, Injury (bodily or otherwise) to myself or others, resulting from my own actions. I understand the Society does not provide insurance to performers whilst performing, and I take part at my own risk.
  • I will at all times act with absolute consideration for the safety of the public and other performers.
  • I will attend a Health and Safety briefing and be aware of the Health and Safety policy and related procedures of BFS. I have read my group's risk assessment and I understand the risks and preventative measures therein.
  • All accidents and injuries must be reported to the Health and Safety officer and written in the health and Safety book.
  • If injured I will seek medical attention immediately. I will ensure that any other injured performer seeks first aid assistance.
  • I have Fire Proofed my costume. I will not wear man-made synthetic fabrics next to my skin or use hair spray or feathers. I have considered the fire risks associated with my costume, or any structure I will use. If in any doubt, I will ask.
  • I understand the role of the Production crew, Beltane Stewards, Professional Stewards and the Police. These groups provide a necessary Public Safety Role, they will only direct you if there is a public safety issue. If directed I will follow their instructions.
  • I will not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance, during the performance or any rehearsal.
  • I will treat other performers with respect at all times. Regardless of their character on the night, personal contact may not be welcome. No still means no.
  • I understand the Red Cross and the Scottish Ambulance Service will be located next to the Observatory. Further first aid provision is provided among the processional stewards (for performers only) and will be available behind the Acropolis.
  • I will only handle and use equipment, fire and materials when I am trained, practised and rehearsed to do so.
  • I understand where the Production areas are (inside the Observatory and behind the Acropolis), I will not smoke or bring a lit flame into these areas.
  • I understand that Beltane Stewards and Professional Stewards are able to communicate with each other by radio, and I will contact one of them if I require assistance or become aware of any serious issue during the event.
  • I understand that my equipment and personal possessions are my own responsibility and have made suitable arrangements for before, during, and after the event.
  • Drum Curfew at 1.30am, and Hill to be cleared.
  • After the event I will ensure that all BFS paint and other property is returned to the society.
  • Fire Breathing is potentially Lethal. Do Not Fire Breathe at our event.
  • I agree to allow the Beltane Fire Society and its agents to take still photographs and video footage, including audio recordings, of the event and its preparation, for any use, in perpetuity.

The society does everything in its power to ensure a safe and happy festival and comply with legal obligations.

BFS advises you to take out personal health or sports insurance to cover your activities.

As a member of the society, you represent Beltane: your actions reflect upon us, with possible consequences for the future. All usual laws apply before, during, and after our event.

Happy Beltane!!