Bectu urges attention on worker health and safety as venues face COVID pressures

20 December 2021

Bectu urges attention on worker health and safety as venues face COVID pressures.

As dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant puts pressure on UK theatres, Bectu has issued guidance on COVID health and safety concerns in the workplace.

Bectu has received large numbers of queries, predominantly from workers in London’s West End, regarding COVID health and safety concerns and has provided members with step-by-step guidance on how to raise safety concerns and report incidents. Bectu expects the issue to escalate across the UK with the spread of the new Omicron variant.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of everyone affected by their work activities.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “We are receiving worrying reports of safety concerns in theatres, including out of date risk assessments and people being asked to continue working while displaying COVID symptoms.

“Our members are working incredibly hard in extremely difficult circumstances and their health and safety at work is paramount. We recognise these are challenging times but employers must ensure no worker’s health and safety is compromised while carrying out their jobs.

“The Government must also step up and work with us to support the creative industries and, if the need should arise, bring in sector specific furlough to ensure self-employed and freelance workers are supported. We need to give business stability and the support for the creative industries to be open and trading safely, where possible.”

“The Omicron variant and audience anxiety is hitting the sector hard. We need strong leadership to help safeguard the industry and protect jobs and worker safety through this latest phase of the crisis.”

You can review Bectu’s COVID health and safety guidance here.

Guidance on testing and self-isolation can be found at:

England Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support – GOV.UK (

Northern Ireland