FOR SAFETY'S SAKENew Year's Resolutions Or Valentine's Love?

So many people try to make and follow through with New Year’s resolutions. At the same time, so many people look at them as a folly. But there’s a side to them which can be used for the better, and that is thinking about them in the first place.

By February, most New Year’s resolutions have already been tossed by the wayside, so everybody’s mind should be clear and ready for a second round. Try it, you’ll like it. Not into resolutions at all? Well, how about a nice Valentine’s gift?

Let’s go through the remote crew people in the typical newsroom and make up some resolutions that might make everyone’s day better.

Resolutions From The Producer
*I’ll try to remember it takes at least a minute to record a minute of video. Two minutes for two, etc.
*I’ll remember all “live” shots aren’t live. Some die at birth.
*I’ll keep in mind that a risky event entails risky coverage options. I’ll gently push, do the best job I can, but will take steps to assure the crew will return home safely.
*Viewers can hear when I yell at a reporter through his IFB. When I’m stressed, I’ll speak quieter when they’re on air.
*I’ll encourage crews to use backlights, background lights, and try to give them the time to do nice-looking work. Poor-quality live shots are the norm...let other stations rush and do them.

Resolutions From The Assignment Desk
*We’ll petition lawmakers to eliminate all speed limits.
*We’ll yell less at field crews.
*We’ll discover a way to use more phones at one time.
*We’ll remind crews to walk around, walk away, and look up...and perform safety checks as much as possible.
*We’ll coordinate meal breaks...make meals happen.
*We’ll make sure every crew uses hands-free phone accessories, and wears reflective vests at night.
*We’ll compliment crews upon return from a busy day...maybe even if it’s not so busy.

Resolutions From The Reporters
*I’ll cringe less when “that photog” is assigned to me.
*I’ll partner up with the photogs, not enslave them.
*I’ll treat every shot as though it were for the resume tape.
*I’ll thank the crew for making me...I mean us...look good, or even just getting the shot up at all.
*I’ll look up at the mast as it is being raised. It’s my life, too. I’m part of the crew and can promote safety.
*I’ll wear reflective vests/materials at night.
*I’ll report maintenance issues I observe.
*I’ll listen to “look-good” suggestions from photogs.

Resolutions From The Photographer
*I’ll remember that it’s not my face on camera, or just my story, or just my job, if something screws up and looks bad.
*I’ll drive the speed limit, or go with the flow of traffic.
*I won’t be afraid to tell the desk there’s not enough time, not enough safety, or not enough cable, and the truck has to move. Preparations take less time than accidents.
*I’ll wear reflective vests at night, and extended visibility colors or a vest during the day.
*I’ll light all scenes well. Bad live shots are bad.
*I’ll use hands-free cell gear all the time, or won’t talk on the phone. I’ll stop in order to write directions.
*I’ll maintain the van, or have it maintained, with all issues written so management can deal with them.
*I’ll walk around, walk away, and look up at every live shot, no matter what the time frame.
I know some of you will have “issues” with the lists. Tough. TV news people need to have reminders, not incidents. Remind them of safety.

Mark Bell publishes the ENG Safety Newsletter. He can be reached at: