f you’re not carefully following the film industry, you might have missed the boom on covid-related positions. Or, if you’re coming back to our blog, you could have already read about Covid Compliance Officer jobs.

This is a shift that occurred almost suddenly due to the industry’s specifics. Before the pandemic spread around the world, decisions have been made and movie sets have been organized and millions of dollars have been invested.

Oftentimes, with tight schedules and the requirement of physical appearances of the whole film crew on set the industry had to find a way around the current situation with a new solution. It did so by hiring advisors for a certain pandemic-related role.

This is a story of how few industries solved a new problem because they had no other option to contain losses and how others can learn from the early adopters.

What Is a COVID-19 Compliance Officer?

Covid Compliance Officer has many names. It often refers to as Covid Manager, Covid Compliance Supervisor, Pandemic Compliance Advisor, and similar variations. The lack of unification comes from how early it is and how quickly the industry had to adapt.

Whatever the name, this is a role that originated in the movie industry to make sure the work on movie sets goes smoothly in the age of pandemics. That means the main responsibility of such a person is to ensure that the pandemic won’t affect the film crew’s operations.

What Does a COVID-19 Compliance Officer Do?

Variety cites Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, COO and general counsel at SAG-AFTRA,

“Without this position, it would be hard for performers and other workers to have confidence that the proper protocols will actually be in place on set when they arrive.”

Covid Compliance Officer duties fall into this category of being able to continue production. He or she needs to ensure that everyone on set follows the rules that mitigate the risk of contagion of anyone on the crew and if anyone gets infected, the virus doesn’t transfer to others. In other words, the person on this job has to ensure business continuity during the times of pandemics.

The first thing to do is to actually create the protocol. That is to incorporate national and industrial standards and guidelines across the specific movie set. It involves raising the awareness of how coronavirus transmits, realizing the risk, and naming the exact measures to be taken. In most cases, it’s not a one-man job and all the stakeholders are involved in the process of forming the protocol.

What should be mentioned in such a protocol? Nothing we haven’t heard of already:

  • Social distancing
  • Hand hygiene
  • Respiratory etiquette
  • Covering faces
  • Regular health checks
  • Regular testing
  • Contact Tracing
  • Procedures for infected workers
  • The movie set access control
  • The movie set preparation and maintenance
  • Following WHO and national updates on COVID-19 pandemic

Why Do Film Crews Need COVID-19 Compliance Officers?

Although, many adolescents can pass COVID-19 without being exhausted but without serious further complications–the main problem is that we don’t really know the effects, nor do we have a commercial vaccine, at least by the time of writing this article. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data on the number of hospitalizations per 100,000 population by age shows that anyone can be vulnerable, however. People in their late 70s and 80s are the most vulnerable to the disease, but it can get even a solid percentage of people in their 30s. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

When it comes to deaths, 80% of COVID-related are people above 65 years old. Some of the greatest movie stars have fallen into this category. For example:

  • Morgan Freeman (83)
  • Anthony Hopkins (82)
  • Robert DeNiro (77)
  • Ian McKellen (81)
  • Pierce Brosnan (67)
  • Hellen Mirren (75)

Many other film crew members are also considered to be in the high-risk group. This creates a threat that scares many people in the industry. The role of Covid Compliance Officer is therefore needed to not only –as said–mitigate the risk, but also to comfort those working on the sets. This is to ensure that the ones that can’t make it through the infection are protected and also those worrying that they can transmit it to someone else.

COVID-19 prevention advisors can’t guarantee 0% risk, but they can effectively lower it to the latest knowledge.

There’s a business aspect to it, too. Having such a person on the film set makes everyone do their jobs more smoothly and cares about having the situation under control. If they lose control, this could stop filming and delay the premiere while making more and more employees unable to work. It’s just a matter of maintaining business continuity in the age of pandemic.

How To Become a COVID-19 Compliance Officer?

The role is not standardized by any means and therefore there’s not a single official course or covid compliance officer training to complete and get all the needed knowledge. However, you can find some materials online.

There’s one by the Health Education Services (HES)–a two-hour-long course specific to this job in film, commercial, music video, and photo shoots and costs 50 USD. This webinar is considered to be the most comprehensive out there. HES notes that the, “completion certificate does NOT classify you as a certified COVID-19 Compliance Officer under any governing body,” but it does its job in providing future officers with appropriate resources and tools.

COVID-19 Compliance Officer Jobs

Analyzing Google Search result trends for “Covid Compliance Officer jobs,” you can see that the topic has only broken through in California, US. Because of Hollywood, obviously. The topic is searched in other countries as well, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. A broader topic of all covid-related jobs is much more often searched all around the world, but that’s also specific to how Google’s keywords work. The shorter and the broader the search term, the higher the search volume.

Source: Google Trends

Looking at LinkedIn, you can already see almost 10,000 COVID-related jobs to be manned. They all fall into a similar pattern of job responsibilities that involve enforcing pandemic risk mitigation protocols and at times, creating and researching policies.

COVID-19 Compliance In Other Industries

COVID compliance is already in demand in other industries that starved to get back to business. That’s motorsport, for example.

All motorsport events have paused during the lockdown. The 2020 F1 season was just about to start when the situation got worse and the decision on stopping it had been made after all the teams, mainly based in Europe, had traveled to Australia for the first Grand Prix. This led to losses and uncertainty around F1 in 2020, and also around any other motorsport event that would gather hundreds of team members and thousands of fans.

FIA officials have created a set of rules based on WHO risk assessment tools that would allow motorsport events to take place even during pandemic times. “FIA Return to Motor Sport Guidelines” document is public and provides interesting insights for event organizers. There’s all you need to know–information about COVID-19, transmission mitigation measures, things to consider before organizing a mass event, strategies, and more.

The guidelines also state:

“It is recommended that the event organizer forms a working group to oversee all aspects COVID--19 preparations for the event (the “COVID-19 Contingency Working Group.”).
Furthermore, it is suggested that the event organizer appoints a “COVID-19 Response Coordinator” to act as a primary communication path between the COVID-19 Contingency Working Group and the applicable authority, as well as manage the activities of the COVID-19 Contingency Working Group.”

When it comes to other duties of COVID-19 Response Coordinator, they should also stay in contact with the authorities to agree decision points and conditions that would require modifications, restrictions, cancellations, or postponement of the organized event.

Looking at similar sporting events, we’ve seen NBA, UEFA Championships, and many others being affected by the pandemic but slowly getting back to business. Though, differently than in the previous seasons and without fans or with a strictly limited number but still there. This is thanks to Covid Compliance Officers and others in similar roles.

This role is not only limited to events and movie sets. There is also a demand for “C19 Compliance Officers” on construction sites in Ireland. As a matter of fact, this job is described in the Construction Federation of Ireland guidelines as required for “sites of all sizes.”

Source: Construction Industry Federation

The guidelines specify the role of C-19 Compliance Officers as being:

  • The role of a C-19 Compliance Officer is to monitor day to the site activities to ensure social distancing and hygiene rules are being maintained to protect health and reduce the spread of the C-19 virus. 
  • These key personnel should be clearly identifiable on site with a distinguishable high viz vest with C-19 Compliance Officer written on them, similar to the illustration provided.  
  • The person undertaking the role must receive training in what the role will entail.  
  • Ensuring compliance with the 2m social distancing rule and good hygiene is not the sole responsibility of the C-19 Compliance Officer. Their role is supported by all site management and workers.  
  • Site Management must communicate to all onsite details of the appointed C-19 Compliance Officer(s).
  • A C-19 Compliance Officer must not put themselves at risk while carrying out their duties.
  • C-19 Compliance Officers must have a structure or framework to follow within the organization to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This structure must be regularly audited and managed to ensure it works and protects all onsite. Failure to take it seriously could result in an outbreak of COVID-19 onsite.

The Future of COVID-19 Compliance Officer Jobs

Globally, the pandemic is striking back, and it seems that this time it is transmitting even faster. It is also mutating, making it harder to prevent from spreading. We don’t know enough about it and due to the mutations, the information needs to be updated constantly. For example, a recent study published on medrXiv says that the virus might have mutated to become more contagious.

The situation is dynamic, to say the least. It may turn out that industries and businesses that already created positions of “COVID-19 Compliance Officers” may not be a short-term position. The virus is here to stay for at least a couple of months and this is when all the people in this role will be in high demand, possibly in more industries that are unable to move to remote work or hybrid workforce models. Some theories also point to the coronavirus staying here forever, or if this one is contained, a new one could emerge in the future.

We can’t be sure of what will actually happen but COVID-19 has exposed how we weren’t ready for a pandemic, any kind of it. No matter what happens with the virus we’re fighting now, a pandemic is still a real threat in so many areas–life, business, economies, and states–and the awareness is here to stay.

In summary, COVID-19 Compliance Officers might become Pandemic Compliance Officers in the future, but with so much awareness around this kind of threat, they are likely to stay on the job market no matter how short-term the future is going to look like.

Oct 28, 2020
Future of Work

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