The PAPFS warehouse
- The warehouse occupied by PAPFS is on two levels – a ground floor and an upper floor.
- The ground floor covers approximately 1300m2 and has a reception area, various workshops (woodworking, metalworking, and painting), filming studios, a storeroom, and a café with toilets. From the reception area, a staircase and a combined goods/passenger lift give access to the upper floor. The upper floor is open-plan with meeting rooms and a viewing theatre. Members of the public can book tours of the studios, which are conducted on a daily basis.
- During a normal production day there are 150 people working onsite. Some of these are self- employed contractors. Complex model sets and figures, as well as scenery and any structural supports for the film set, are made in the workshops.
- Up to five workers are in the wood workshop during peak times of production. The workshop contains a range of fixed, electrically-powered machines, including a bench-mounted circular saw, a lathe, and a bandsaw. The bandsaw is the newest piece of machinery purchased due to the old one breaking down. There are also handheld portable electrically-powered tools, all connected to a low voltage transformer. Most of the machinery is clustered in the centre of the workshop. The workbenches used for measuring and intricate tasks are along the walls. Hearing protection and eye protective equipment are stored in designated cupboards.
-There is only one large external window; the windowsill of which is used to store spare parts, small equipment, and consumables such as replacement blades for the woodworking equipment, all in their original packaging.
- There have been some recent issues with faulty lathe spindles and a rusty tailstock (an adjustable part of the lathe holding the fixed spindle). Replacement parts took much longer to arrive than expected, resulting in production delays. A handwritten note was attached to the lathe warning workers not to use the machine.
- The workshop uses suspended fluorescent tube lighting. The fluorescent tubes have been changed on three recent occasions, as some workers said the tubes keep flickering. Halogen floodlights have been installed on the walls for extra lighting, but these cast shadows across the equipment in some areas of the room. Some machines have lighting positioned below the work area to illuminate the workpiece. Waste such as wood dust, shavings, and off-cuts have accumulated on the floor. An old portable LEV system is available for use by machinery operators.
- There is no regular, preventative maintenance system for any equipment in the wood workshop. Electrically-powered tools tend to develop faults or stop working, so workers occasionally use hand tools instead. Some workers have complained about the onset of wrist pain while using the hand tools.
- The workshop is always busy and can get very warm in summer months, especially when the sun is glaring through the window.
- In the last three weeks, two accidents involving the bench-mounted circular saw had been reported to the wood workshop manager. In the first accident, the saw bench vibrated so strongly that it caused the worker to lose their grip and cut their finger on the rotating blade. The second accident involved a worker approaching what they thought was a stationary blade. The saw had just been switched off, but the blade was still rotating. Unfortunately, due to production pressures, none of these accidents were followed up by the manager at the time.
- Twelve months earlier, a more serious accident occurred with the same machine. The task was to cut a long, narrow piece of wood. The worker adjusted the riving knife before using the saw. They fed the wood into the saw very slowly. The wood began to split and the worker noticed a burning smell. They pressed the stop button on the saw and immediately lifted the adjustable guard. They then removed their eye protection so they could see what was wrong. They re-adjusted the riving knife as it was too close to the blade. The saw was restarted, and using a push stick the worker attempted to cut the final part of the wood. The sleeve of their jumper became entangled in the blade causing a deep laceration to their arm. Another worker pressed the stop button and the blade eventually stopped rotating after about 5 seconds.
Adjacent to the wood workshop is the metal workshop. The workshop manager has several years’ experience of working in the metal working industry. After a serious injury occurred six years ago involving a defective guard on a drill, they became more interested in health and safety. As a result, the manager now makes sure the workshop is kept clean and tidy, and that all of the machinery is regularly maintained. Each machine is tagged with a label indicating the date of the last service and when the next one is due.
- This workshop has two main painting areas. The smaller models, figures and scenery pieces are spray and brush-painted in spray cabinets. Each cabinet sits on a work bench and is partially enclosed, leaving only a narrow, fixed opening at the front to allow workers to pass their hands through. Each spray cabinet is equipped with a fixed halogen lamp and a filtered extraction system exhaust outside. Each cabinet also contains handheld equipment, such as electrical curing heaters, electrical fans to assist drying, and other model making equipment.
- There is also a walk-in enclosed spray room for painting and spraying larger items. This area also has its own filtered extraction system, that was last serviced at least three years ago. The floor covering within the room is worn and loose in places. During the summer months the workers have to take extra drink breaks, to stay hydrated. The spray rooms are cleaned once every two weeks using a solvent solution. Any remaining residue is then scraped off using a metal scraper.
- Some of the paints used are water-based but many are solvent-based, most of which are labelled as ‘flammable’ and ‘toxic’. There are two, old metal cupboards used to store paint cans and cleaning solvents, each holding 100 litres. Each cupboard contains a small light that is wired into the mains electricity supply, and switches on when the door is opened. Both light fittings are brittle and cracked or broken in places. Much larger quantities of paints and cleaning solvents are in the workshop storeroom.
- There are many partially-used spray cans scattered around the paint workshop and spray room. Almost every surface seems to be covered in spots of paint from the spraying process.
- Recently, while painting in the spray room, a worker complained of feeling ill. They struggled to open the door to get out, and just after raising the alarm, they almost fainted. This door had been reported as being difficult to open on several previous occasions.
- Each filming studio is sound-proofed and contains a raised stage area at one end. The stage is approximately 15m wide and 1.5m high and has no edge protection. This stage is used to hold the background sets so that the models can be placed within them. Moveable steps give access to the stage from the studio floor. The steps are fitted with temporary rails that can be secured in position when workers are on the stage. Crash mats (thick, padded mats) are positioned on the studio floor next to the stage.
- Portable lighting rigs are set 5.5m above the stage. These rigs consist of metal frames with individual adjustable lights attached. Workers select the correct lighting at each stage of filming. Lighting can be changed by lowering the rigs to ground level. However, it is common for trained workers to use portable metal ladders, when in a hurry, to make final adjustments along the stage lighting. A gallery (balcony area) can be used for slight lighting adjustments from one side of the studio.
- Scenery is installed and positioned on the stage by workers using a mobile tower scaffold fitted with stabilisers. Due to a lack of storage space backstage, trained and experienced workers assemble the scaffold every time it is required. Portable ladders are used for tasks such as additional painting, drilling, and adjusting scenery.
- The production manager is responsible for all aspects of the filming, including the safety of people. However, there is no deputy when the manager is unavailable or called away. Filming is often pressured and time sensitive. Production and film crew are often seen accessing the stage area without using the portable steps.
- There is only one, trained truck operator on site, but other workers are often allowed to use the reach truck in their absence. On one such occasion a large, wide piece of scenery was being carried on the forks of the truck. Two workers escorted the truck, steadying the load on either side. One of the workers tripped and fell, causing part of the load to fall on to them and severely bruising their legs.
- The set was damaged, and production had to be delayed.
- On another occasion, the reach truck was used to collect a delivery from the car park. On attempting to lift the load, the truck tipped forwards, raising the rear wheels from the ground. The reach truck driver requested two other workers to stand on the back of the truck to weigh it down, so that the load could still be moved. The truck has several large dents and deep scratches on it from similar incidents.