IR #2010-30
October 12, 2010

Krisann Chasarik
Erika Monterroza


Cal/OSHA Announces Public Meeting for Workplace Safety in the Adult Film Industry

Oakland, CA —A public meeting will be held to discuss proposed changes in workplace safety and health regulations that would affect employees in the adult film industry (productions of videos, films or other media).  The amendments that are being considered could include specifically mentioning the use of condoms. 

The meeting is the result of a petition filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Petition 513) on December 17, 2009 with the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.  The petition seeks to revise California’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and to specifically mention condom use in adult films during vaginal and anal penetration.  Meetings have already been held in Los Angeles and Oakland in June, August and September.

“There should be no confusion in the adult film industry about whether condoms or other forms of barrier protection or exposure prevention measures are required,” said Amy Martin, Cal/OSHA’s Chief Counsel. “Since the 2004 HIV outbreak in this industry, Cal/OSHA has conducted a number of investigations and has issued citations to employers who do not use condoms, other barrier protection or engineering controls.  No employer is exempt from this standard.”

Under current federal and California Bloodborne Pathogens standards, employers are required to protect employees from contact with another person’s blood and certain other body fluids including semen and vaginal secretions. The standard requires employers to use engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.  In the adult film industry these control measures may include simulation of sexual acts, use of condoms or other barrier protection, or any work practice that effectively prevents exposure to these body fluids

If exposure still exists after use of engineering and work practice controls, employers must provide and ensure that employees use appropriate personal protective equipment which, depending on the activities, could include condoms or dental dams. 

The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard is intended to prevent disease transmission—it does not concern itself with how specific activities might be portrayed or whether any required control measure ultimately is or is not visible in the final production. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard can be found in its entirety on the Department of Industrial Relation’s (DIR’s) Web site at this page:

“These regulations require that employees be protected from exposure to blood, semen, and vaginal fluids because of their potential for transmitting infections including HIV or hepatitis B and C,” said Martin. “This is important, because we are aware of no testing plan that will ensure a performer is not infectious at the time of filming.”

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation petition also proposes amendments to training and other requirements in the standard.  It would expand the scope of medical services the employer is required to provide to include screening and treatment for all sexually transmitted diseases, in addition to those considered bloodborne, whenever an employee has been exposed to blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids. 

All states, including those with their own state-run OSHA plan (such as California), must have workplace safety standards in place that meet or exceed Federal OSHA standards.  Fed OSHA has its own Bloodborne Pathogens Standard which, like California’s, requires “the use of engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens.” 

“Cal/OSHA has no jurisdiction to be for or against adult films.  Our mandate in this regard begins and ends with protecting employees during film production,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh.  “We continue to hold public meetings in order to get input from producers and employees in this industry, as well as input from medical and public health experts to determine whether changes can be made to improve the existing standard to protect employees.” 

The next general advisory committee meeting to discuss the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard petition will be held in October:

Monday, October 25
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Elihu M. Harris State Building
1515 Clay Street, 2nd Floor
Room 1
Oakland, CA

The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for public participation. The agenda includes presentations from the San Francisco County Department of Public Health and the Free Speech Coalition.

Cal/OSHA provides more safety information for workers and employers in the adult film industry on a special section of its Web site: Any employee with work-related questions or complaints can also call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.

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