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Cal/OSHA, 6-0, Votes to Examine State Labor Code

Cal/OSHA, 6-0, Votes to Examine State Labor Code
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Mar 18, 2010 3:00 PM PDT    Text size: 

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Audience members at Costa Mesa’s city council chambers erupted in applause after the Cal/OSHA standards board voted unanimously to create an advisory committee which will determine whether to amend section 5193 of the state’s safety regulations to better protect adult actors.

About 20 people representing various parts of the adult industry testified before the board, including several former and current adult film actors, attorneys and public health advocates.

Thursday morning’s meeting was in response to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation, or AHF, petition filed last December by AHF president Michael Weinstein, which claims the adult industry “refused to take any steps to protect its workers from disease spread by blood borne pathogens” and urges a change to California labor code to “clarify required protections for adult workers in the film industry” such as mandatory condom use.

Several of the former female performers, who used to work as independent contractors, voiced their support for condom use on film shoots, saying there needs to be a better way to protect adult performers and stop the spread of STDs.

But, another current female actress said that the industry always protects her safety, saying, “In my experience, I have never participated in any kind of behavior that has jeopardized my health. I have never caught any disease.”

While everyone at the meeting supported the creation of the advisory committee, many are concerned about what the new changes, if any, would mean to the adult industry.

“I don’t agree with Michael Weinstein,” Paul Cambria, an attorney representing several adult producers, told XBIZ. “It is not practical to require California companies to use condoms. It puts them at an economic disadvantage by forcing them to go out of state.”

“We want workable, reasonable guidelines to keep adult companies competitive in this market,” Cambria added.

“Shooting porn is not very hospitable in Utah,” Michael Weinstein told XBIZ. “If producers are shooting in other states, we’re going to go after them.”

“I don’t agree with mandatory condom use,” FSC’s Diane Duke told XBIZ. “The industry has been self regulating for years and we have been very effective. Condoms can be part of it, but not mandated. Required condom use is unrealistic and doesn’t work for our industry.”

The board members themselves had several concerns regarding the advisory committee.

They urged the panel to explore the 20 year old “blood borne pathogens” language in the code, saying the current language was meant for medical professionals and doesn’t apply to adult performers.

Another board member said a distinction needs to be made between what is considered an “employee” and what is considered an “independent contractor” because the testing requirements are different for both groups.

Finally, the board urged to create a fair and balanced comprehensive panel of members, representing all aspects of the adult industry, saying the decisions should be based on the “exposure” issue rather than an “industry” issue.

The selection process for committee members is now underway.

For updates, go to dir.ca.gov.com.

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