Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dangers of Working in TV, Film Industry Increasing

When it comes to occupational safety and health, it's probably not often that you think about the safety of actors, film crews and others in the entertainment industry. It seems safety may not be top of mind among producers in the industry either, particularly among those shooting reality shows that thrive on dramatic footage. According to Tribune reporter Richard Verrier, fatalities during filming have increased over the last 5 years, since reaching a record low of zero in 2003. "Authorities put at least some of the blame on shortcuts taken by producers to save time and money," Verrier writes, citing OSHA Administrator David Michaels as one of those authorities.

Verrier recounts several fatalities that were caused by hazards that were both predictable and preventable. The culprit appears to be lack of investment in basic safety precautions. "It's truly remarkable to me that production companies can use ultra-advanced technology to make spectacular films but too often they won't spend the modest resources necessary to make sure their workers aren't injured or killed on the job," Michaels says in the article.

The incidents haven't gone completely unnoticed, however. Just last week, director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the death of Sarah Johns that occurred on the set of his film Midnight Rider in 2014. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison. After delivering the sentence in that case, Judge Anthony Harrison told Ms. Jones’s parents: “I hope that this day will contribute to your goal of sending a message of safety to the industry.”