State Fines Two Adult Film Companies for Unsafe Working Conditions
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday fined two Van Nuys-based adult film companies for allegedly allowing actors to perform unprotected sex acts, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Cavanaugh, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/16). The citations, issued to Evasive Angles and TTB Productions, are the first regulatory action that Cal/OSHA has taken against an adult entertainment company, the Los Angeles Times reports. Fines for the citations could amount to as much as $30,560, according to the Times. The fines come after an HIV outbreak among adult film performers in April.
Cal/OSHA issued the citations after a months-long investigation initiated when an unnamed adult entertainment industry worker filed a complaint with the department, the Times reports. The investigation allegedly revealed that the two companies violated the state's blood-borne pathogen standard, which requires employers to protect employees who might be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids on the job.
Cal/OSHA spokesperson Susan Gard said, "What this means is that any employer whose workers are exposed to any potentially infectious material, such as semen or vaginal fluids, must follow state regulations covering workplaces," adding, "Any bodily fluid is considered infectious. That means barrier equipment must be used."
The citations say that the companies violated state law by failing to notify authorities of actors who contracted HIV through work-related activities and allege that the companies' producers did not provide a written injury prevention program. According to the citations, producers also failed to report a workplace accident to Cal/OSHA within eight hours of the incident, as required by law.
Jeffrey Douglas -- an adult film industry lawyer and chair of the Free Speech Coalition, an industry trade group -- said that Cal/OSHA may not be able to regulate all adult film actors. Cal/OSHA has regulatory authority over employees but not contractors. According to the Times, many of the actors are paid by the scene and change employers daily.
"It doesn't matter what Cal/OSHA wants," Douglas said, adding, "It's a matter of Cal/OSHA's authority" (Liu/Malnic, Los Angeles Times, 9/17).