Oh, how I wish it worked that way. I envy you living in California. Your CalOSHA plus Prop 65 alone are reasons to move there.
But in other states, calling OSHA sort of works with SOME of the big permanent companies in leased or owned theaters or scene shops that stay put for years. It sort of works with SOME of the majors like Warner Bros. But get smaller than that, and forget it. All those little independent films form an LLC and fly in and out of shooting locations sometimes before we know they were even here. And after the movie is shot, they can sell it and disband the LLC. There isn't even anyone to sue or fine.
If you call OSHA, even as a worker rep, they might show up before they've left the area. If you can convince them it is an "immanent danger" situation, they will show up right away. Then OSHA goes back to ponder and write a report that usually arrives after they are gone.
As a result, our workers have decades of asbestos, lead, isocyanates, solvents and other exposures on a regular basis but on many different jobs--and no records other than the names of the companies and the dates on their pay stubs.
One of the primary reasons my job exists, is no worker in this business dares to complain. They will never work again. The employers don't have to fire them, they just don't hire them for the next gig.
And one day, off line, we could talk about Disney!! Three of their workers were killed in a 7 week period two years ago just in Orlando! I'm not sure, but isn't a big mouse a rat?
Oh, and then there are states where OSHA dares not fine the big guys. That's mostly in the gun-toting states (although I've had my life threatened in NYC, too). A friend of mine was crushed to death and a colleague of his seriously injured in a major company in Texas. I had inspected the whole facility just 30 days before the accident so I called the state OSHA and told them that this company had not ONE WORD written on any OSHA program. I gave OSHA all the ammunition they would need. OSHA never even cited them.
Do I sound bitter? Yup. Now you know why I work 16 hours a day, am on 24/7 call for the union, and am often such a royal pain in the ass. And as a union guy yourself, you can appreciate that without the union, these people would also be poor and without health insurance. Just to get in this business, everyone would work for nothing on the chance that they would be the one person who becomes famous. Sometimes the free market is a really stinking bad idea.
In a message dated 1/28/2011 2:42:55 PM Eastern Standard Time, mwright**At_Symbol_Here**USW.ORG writes:
CalOSHA has actually been pretty serious about enforcing its standards in the film industry. From your address, Monona, I=E2=80=99d guess that you are in New York, but federal OSHA can certainly act in New York and other states where the feds have primary jurisdiction. If the producers won=E2=80=99t listen to you, they risk having OSHA explain it to them, and assessing a fine for the privilege.
Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
(412) 562-2580 work
(412) 370-0105 cell
(412) 562-2584 fax
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