People working in the motion and video production industry are not exempt from workplace injuries. They too experience a number of risks like any regular worker. Here are just some of the most common occupational hazards that happen in film productions:
- Injuries from pyrotechnic effects involving fire and explosives
- Vehicle crashes, especially those that require filming using a helicopter
- Falling props and heavy equipment
- Tripping hazards from cables, wiring, and ropes
- Non-existent safety equipment
These incidents are very common but they often go unreported. In fact, during the early days of filmmaking, between 1926 and 1930, 50 people were killed while 11,000 were injured during production. Thankfully, safety standards have improved since then and we don’t see as many injuries. However, they still do happen and they’re often kept off the record.
People working in the film industry have a terrible mentality of brushing off these incidents due to the tight schedule that they have to follow. When a worker gets injured, it can delay or halt film production which costs a lot of money. To avoid this, workers are often asked not to mention or report it. They do this for fear of being blacklisted in the industry.
This is a wrong way to deal with it. As a worker, you should be able to exercise your rights to receive treatment and compensation. Yes, production is responsible for keeping the work environment safe as well as covering employees who get injured. If you are in the film industry and you suffer from a disability as a result of your work, here are the steps you should take to safeguard your job.
1) Report the incident immediately
Before your injury gets worse, make sure to report the incident right away, especially if it requires hospitalization. It used to be that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required companies to only report incidents involving deaths or injuries affecting three or more workers. Things have changed since then. Now, all injuries that warrant a visit to the hospital, even for just 30 minutes, need to be reported. This is very relevant in the film and TV industry where most cases go unreported.
2) Ask for compensation
So let’s say you got injured, unless your role is very essential to production, they can hire a temporary replacement while you recover. Not only are they responsible for paying for your hospital bills but also the salary that you lose during the days where you cannot work due to the disability. This is called short term disability workers compensation.
3) Report to OSHA
If your employer does not provide you compensation, you can reach out to OSHA. You are required to do this within 30 days from the injury. This is why it’s essential that you act on your injury as soon as possible since OSHA does put time restrictions for these kinds of cases.
They can protect you from any retaliation that your employer may do against you. For example, they cannot demote or fire you for exercising your legal rights. If your employer does this, you should also file a complaint within 30 days of the retaliation.
4) Hire a lawyer
Hopefully, it doesn’t arrive at this but in case that it does, you will need the expertise of an attorney to help defend your case. They can educate you of your rights as a worker well as build a strong defense that will not only protect you from being unemployed but also receiving the most compensation.
By reporting these incidents properly, you are playing an important role of keeping everyone in your industry safe. Film and TV production employees work around challenging locations under a short time frame, making them more vulnerable to accidents and injuries.
What unreported accidents have you heard of the time that you have worked in the film industry? Share your thoughts in the comments below.