ABTT Launches New Guidance for ‘Respect and Dignity’ in the Workplace

6 June 2024

The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) is very pleased to launch the third document in its ‘W’ for ‘Welfare’ series of Guidance Notes.  Following work with RB Health & Safety Solutions and the AAPTLE Well-being Working Group during the UK’s Mental Health Awareness month in May 2024, ABTT Guidance Note W3 Mental Health and Well-being: Respect & Dignity in the Workplace Policy Template was launched at the “New Guidance: Revolutionising Physical Well-being and Mental Health” seminar on the 6th June at the annual ABTT Theatre Show.

ABTT Guidance Note W3: Mental Health & Well-being: Respect & Dignity in the Workplace Policy Template captures guidance for developing an organisational respect and dignity policy promoting a healthy working culture backstage. The guidance note offers concise recommendations, outlining 10 principles that employers and the workforce are encouraged to adopt and use in the workplace. The guidance sets out how to outline the behaviour that each person is expected to exhibit, but more importantly, what is considered  not to be ‘OK’  and clearly indicate that it will not be tolerated.

Guidance Note W3 is part of the Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry in the UK which is produced by the ABTT with the support of the national Theatre Safety Committee, and which is recognised by the HSE as an Established Standard.

This is the third in the ABTT’s “W” series of Guidance Notes which deal with legal duties and best practice for ensuring the welfare of all workers. ABTT Guidance Note W1 (Mental Health & Well-being: Supporting Freelancers in the Workplace) was launched in May 2022 to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week  and Guidance Note W2 (A Practical Guide to Conducting Stress Risk Assessments and creating Well-being Policies) was launched in November of the same year to coincide with International Stress Awareness Week.

It is part of the ABTT’s on-going commitment to promote awareness of welfare and well-being and complements its training initiative for Mental Health First Aid.

“I’m happy to see the welfare series of guidance expand with the launch of the W3 guidance note.  I’m passionate about adding much needed Health and welfare to our industry technical standards.  The respect & dignity policy & its 10 principals have been written to help us reset and redefine behaviour in the workplace.  Written for everyone from a students, crew room staff, designers and senior management.  Its goal is to see us unite and work together to make our industry a kinder, safer and more understanding place to work.  I hope the W3 guidance note can be used as a simple cost-effective way to create a cultural change towards well-being in the work place”
Mig Burgess Walsh – ABTT Co-Chair and Senior Lecturer at the Guildford School of Acting

“RB Health and Safety Solutions are proud to have supported the development of the ABTT’s latest Guidance Note W3. We pride ourselves on providing high quality Health and Safety Advice and Training so working on this proactive guidance for a Respect & Dignity Policy which promotes the mental health and well-being of employees seemed to be a perfect fit. We are very pleased to be able to assist in adding this guidance to the Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry.”
Richard Beale, Managing Director at RB Health and Safety Solutions Ltd

“The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 quite clearly states: ‘2(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.’ As such it is important to note the core of this Guidance Note will become part of the Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry in the UK. Many will be familiar with the ‘Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment’ which specifically states that ‘Good management is essential to ensure safety and health and welfare…’ The ABTT is incredibly grateful to our Co-Chair, Mig Burgess Walsh and all her collaborators for leading on this area of work and producing the latest Guidance Note in the ‘W’ series which provides a library of guidance on welfare to complement the material the ABTT has already published and will continue to develop on Health and Safety.”
Robin Townley, ABTT Chief Executive

You can download Guidance Note W3: Mental Health and Well-Being: Respect and Dignity in the Workplace Policy Template here.