by Laurence B. Abrams
Stunts, cranes, booms, pyrotechnics, noise, long hours, smoke, water, highvoltage equipment, speeding vehicles and a desire to push the limits. These things sometimes come together to make great movies but they don’t come without certain risks. However, by developing a greater awareness for the potential safety hazards that surround us at work, film and television sets have actually become much safer work environments than they ever were before. Here are four very important programs that make it safer for us to report to work each day.
The Safety Pass Program administered by Contract Services Administration Trust Fund (CSATF) offers classes tailored to the needs of each Local and each job classification. Please remember that the newest course in the training program, the A-2 Environmental Safety class, is mandatory for ALL classifications and that failure to complete this class can prevent you from being hired for work. You can verify whether or not you’ve already completed the A2 class if you go to www.csatf.org and on the left, click “Online Roster/General Access” and then enter your name and Local number. If you still need to take it, this three-hour class is offered daily, Monday through Saturday. For details and quick online registration, see www.csatf.org/safety.shtml. If you have questions about the Safety Pass Program, you can call Contract Services directly at 818.565.0550, ext. 1100.
The Industry-Wide Labor- Management Safety Committee, a consortium of representatives from the IATSE, the guilds and the producers, has issued a series of documents intended as guidelines for promoting safe practices on the set. State, federal and local regulations take precedence, of course, but these guidelines are specifically developed to address issues that are directly related to our industry and to the kind of work that we do.
Topics covered by the Industry- Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee are wide ranging, offering advice on situations such as working near camera cars, boats and water hazards, firearms, smoke and fog effects, working with animals or around helicopters or near high voltages, in extreme hot or cold weather or high-wind conditions and much more.
The newest document released by the Safety Committee is called Safety & Health Awareness Sheet – Extended or Successive Takes and is critically important to our sound crews now working with HD cameras capable of shooting nonstop for extremely long periods of time. Please be sure to read about this particular document here www.local695.com/html/long-takes.php. To become familiar with all of the other safety bulletins, each printable in PDF format, please visit www.csatf.org/bulletintro.shtml.
Studio Safety Hotlines
Every employee has the right to report unsafe conditions or unsafe practices to their employer without fear of reprisal. To assist in reporting such problems, a list of all the Studio Safety Hotline phone numbers and contact information for safety representatives at the major studios is available on the Contract Services website at www.csatf.org/studio_safety_hotlines.pdf. Most of the studios state that they are available 24 hours a day to accept anonymous safety-related phone calls. The studios have made it clear that they are totally committed to maintaining a safe workplace and that they very much want to hear about any safety problems that you may be aware of.
OSHA and Your Right to Have a Safe Workplace
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for all working men and women. At its core, this health law declares that it is the duty of employers to provide workplaces that are free of known dangers that could harm their employees and that the employer must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. It goes on to specify a list of workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities and it provides a path for you to report anonymously any unsafe conditions to your employer and to be protected from any discipline or reprisals that might arise as a consequence of you drawing attention to the problem. For more information, links and phone numbers for reporting violations, see https://www.local695.com/resources/health-safety-info/osha-workplace-safety.