Cal/OSHA Panel Hears Testimony Over Proposed New Regs

Rhett Pardon

SAN DIEGO — Cal/OSHA’s standards board will ultimately decide on proposed amendments to California Code of Regulations Title 8 § 5193 as early as next March.

Marley Hart, Cal/OSHA’s executive officer on the standards boards, told XBIZ after today’s public hearing in San Diego that the board likely is nearly a year out until rendering a decision on a renovated § 5193 — one that if approved by regulators would require adult performers who work in the state to not only wear barriers, such as condoms, but to require them to wear goggles to avoid ocular infections and dental dams for oral sex.

Hart said that Thursday’s meeting on the subject of the proposed § 5193.1 was important for members of the adult entertainment to attend and add a voice, if not for one reason — “this will be the last public comment period for it.”

Thursday’s hearing at the bayside downtown San Diego County Administration Building was attended by more than 100 in the auditorium’s main floor and balcony, including nearly two-thirds from the adult entertainment business who listened for about three hours of testimony.

Testimony at the hearing came from at least three dozen adult entertainment performers, producers and behind-the-scenes help, as well as a handful of those who have sides with the sponsors of the amendment, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and a number of doctors specializing in public health and STI infection management. The AHF has pushed for the amendments for several years.

Hart noted that the numbers of those who testified in opposition to the proposed amended worker-safety law was far much larger than email comments, which numbered at about a half dozen by today’s hearing.

AHF’s supporters in the crowd wore the familiar red T-shirts bearing “No More Excuses,” while many from the adult entertainment community came with white T-shirts enscribed “Our Bodies, Our Choice.”

The hearing on § 5193.1 was all testimony. The Cal/OSHA safety and health standards board, comprised of business and labor representatives and labor specialists, heard both the pros and cons from all sides at the meeting over the proposal, but they did not comment nor did any of them hint at which way they would vote.

Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition’s CEO, told the standards board panel today that the industry has been under attack by the AHF over the issue of regulation in adult film production and that the voices of performers and the industry in previous Cal/OSHA hearings were “diminished and ignored.”

“It was clear that those their voices fell on deaf ears” in a previous hearing in Los Angeles. “I am more concerned about science and the actual health and welfare of the employees rather than the political process [brought about by the AHF],” she said.

Duke went on to explain elaborately to the panel the voluntary PASS system, a service administered by the FSC in order to provide adult industry producers and performers with a reliable protocol and database for STI testing.

Some of the top performers in the biz, including James Deen, Alex Chance, April Flores and Chanel Preston, among many others, gave their reasons why they personally and professionally believe that the proposed law would hurt them unnecessarily because the current controlled performer system works.  

The AHF also provided testimony from former adult performers Cameron Bay, Ron Daily, Sofia Delgado and others, who spoke in support of the amendment. Bay, Delgado and Daily have been tested HIV-positive and no longer work in adult film production.

Preston an executive at APAC, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, as well as director and performer, said that "the intentions of the proposed regulations is to keep us safe but it gives us greater risk."

She said that it "does not increase safety, and it compromises the privacy of medical records."

“We need applicable regulations in order for us to do our jobs as adult performers, and the regulations proposed by Cal/OSHA do not let us be able to do this,” Preston said.

Kevin Bland, an attorney who represents the FSC and who has testified before Cal/OSHA hearings in the past, closed the hearing with a request from the standards board panel.

“Come up with a plan that works for this industry,” he said.