2004: Cal/OSHA issues citations to adult film companies for failing to protect employees from health hazards

After an HIV scandal rocked the porn industry in 2004, California workplace regulators fined two adult film companies for safety violations, issuing this press release on 9/16/04:

SAN FRANCISCO – Cal/OSHA, the state’s occupational safety and health program, yesterday issued its first-ever citations to employers in the adult film industry. Two employers, Evasive Angles and TTB Productions, each received citations totaling $30,560 for violations of health and safety regulations related to the exposure of three employees to HIV.

“Employers in the adult film industry must know how to protect their employees from health and safety hazards and understand the consequences of failing to comply with state regulations,” said Vicky Heza, Cal/OSHA’s deputy chief of enforcement.

Both companies are based in Van Nuys and both company names appear on the credits for the motion picture production during which some employees contracted HIV. It’s unclear at this point which company employed the workers who were exposed.

Evasive Angles and TTB Productions received citations for failing to comply with the state’s bloodborne pathogen standard, failing to report a serious work related illness to Cal/OSHA, and for failing to prepare and follow a written safety and health program, known as an injury and illness prevention program. The citations for failing to comply with the bloodborne pathogens standard and failing to report a serious illness carried the maximum penalties–$25,000 and $5,000 respectively.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 requires employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees. This same act gives Cal/OSHA jurisdiction over virtually all private employers in California, including employers in the adult film industry. California’s bloodborne pathogen standard, adopted in 1992, is modeled after a similar federal regulation, and the requirements violated in this case are virtually identical to those in the federal bloodborne pathogen standard.

“All employees in this state have the legal right to a safe and healthful work environment,” said Heza. “In this case there was a failure to establish, implement and maintain a control plan to protect employees whose work exposes them to blood and other potentially infectious material, which resulted in workers contracting a life-threatening illness.”

Employers must follow all safety standards found in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations applicable to their industry. They must also report the name and location of any employee seriously injured or who becomes seriously ill, the nature of the injury or illness, a description of the incident including its time and date, the employer’s name, address and telephone number, and other relevant information to the nearest Cal/OSHA office by phone or fax within eight hours.

Cal/OSHA has posted vital information for employers and workers in the adult film industry on its Web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/AdultFilmIndustry.html. Cal/OSHA also set up a special phone line at (213) 237-9958 so adult film industry workers who believe their employer is not providing a safe and healthy work environment may file a complaint, and employers in need of help setting up an effective injury and illness prevention program can request free assistance without the risk of receiving a citation if violations are found.

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