Why managing health and safety risks is key to TV shows loved by millions

Award-winning soaps, reality TV and chat shows are just a few of the programmes that keep millions of UK viewers glued to their televisions.

Ruth Denyer will present at IOSH 2018. Image: Andy Andrews
Ruth Denyer will present at IOSH 2018. Image: Andy Andrews

But none of it would be possible without successfully managing the huge variety of health and safety risks that producing such shows presents.

From well-known cast and presenters to the film crew behind the cameras, Ruth Denyer and the risk team work with the production at ITV to support them in managing health and safety risks while they create must-watch television.

“We run a creative business where we are producing different content all over the world every day, so our risk profile varies from day-to-day if not hour-to-hour,” said Ruth, who is Group Operational Risk Director.

“We don’t have a fixed staff population and have people doing different things every day, so this does present a challenge. In 2017, we made over 8,400 hours of content through over 50 labels in 11 countries, supplying over 200 channels. 

“Without good health and safety management this would not be possible. So, while health and safety often gets a bad name, when you are sat watching your favourite TV programme, you need to consider how health and safety lives and breathes in such a creative and dynamic environment.”

Ruth will be among speakers at IOSH 2018, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s annual international conference, being held at the ICC Birmingham from 17-18 September.

With Alison Hodgetts, ITV’s Group Head of Health and Safety Risk Management, they will look at the organisation’s ‘Leading Risk’ programme, which aims to instil ownership and responsibility for health and safety within the leadership teams across the ITV Studios business.

“We want to engage leadership in health and safety management; there is a perception that a completed risk assessment form means they are on top of health and safety risks. We wanted to build a much deeper understanding of risk management as an integral element of production activity rather than just a form-filling exercise,” said Ruth. 

“We work will brilliant, creative people and we needed to engage with them in a different way than traditional health and safety training that can end up having a negative effect..

“The programme has had a really positive impact on the business. There is now a real difference in how people feel and talk about safety, about risk management, about health issues.”

Ruth has worked at ITV for 14 years. In that time, she has seen the value placed on health and safety grow. 

“When I started, we were located in a small room which was more like a cupboard and no one got to know us,” she said. “Now we are right in the middle of the business, in contact with people across the globe every day.”

For more information about IOSH 2018, and to book a place, visit 


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