Monitoring Air Quality on Set to Protect Workers

The film industry is at the center of modern media entertainment, producing countless motion pictures every year. These films are watched by billions of people around the world; however, few consider what is happening behind the scenes.

A movie set consists of a wide array of employees, ranging from actors and directors to camera operators and sound engineers. This makes occupational health and safety a vital task.

This undertaking is made more complicated by the increased use of special effects and, without a means to ensure the health and safety of all staff, production could be stopped.

Customized Air Monitoring

Image credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific - Environmental & Process Monitoring Instruments

A large production company in Southern California identified the potential danger to employees on set from the inhalation of theatrical smoke and other particles during scenes using special effects.

To address this, the company employed a Thermo Scientific™ Personal DataRAM™ pDR-1500 portable particulate monitor to assess the air within the closed studio for dangerous levels of inhalable pollutants.

However, this solution did not meet the strict requirements of the sound crew. The multitude of ultra-sensitive microphones on set appeared to capture the noise of the portable monitor.

To overcome this, the air monitoring device had to be customized utilizing a noise-dampening container. This was achieved with help from Velco Engineering Associates. A transmitter and a remote receiver were also incorporated, allowing employees to monitor readings from a considerable distance—that is, away from possible dangers and clear of the action. 

Widespread Adoption

Air monitoring has become routine in all major television and film production studios nationwide. This example emphasizes the ease of incorporating this type of instrument into production sets.

Image credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific - Environmental & Process Monitoring Instruments

While not currently regulated in the film industry, air pollutant monitoring has become customary for many companies to proactively augment diligence.

The present film production company has exceeded its remit, finding a unique solution to actively monitor the air for harmful pollutants. Such solutions could be applied in the global film industry to safeguard actors and crews from potential harm while ensuring production continues uninterrupted.

This information has been sourced, reviewed, and adapted from materials provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific – Environmental and Process Monitoring Instruments.

For more information on this source, please visit Thermo Fisher Scientific – Environmental and Process Monitoring Instruments.

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