SACRAMENTO — Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board released findings this week on two petitions that sought to alter § 5193, which prescribes protections against bloodborne pathogens for California porn shoots.
Earlier this year, the Free Speech Coalition’s Eric Paul Leue and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Michael Weinstein filed distinctive and diverging petitions with state regulators to address the safety and health of workers in the adult film industry.
The Standards Board on Tuesday, in regards to both petitions (Nos. 557 and 560), said that it would grant convening an advisory committee, “with stakeholder involvement inclusive of AHF, FSC and a diverse cross section of the adult film industry to consider amending or expanding [§ 5193] to specifically address risks of employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens and STDs in the adult film industry.”
In the proposed decision and order, the Standards Board also said that it doesn’t have the option of adopting a standard less effective in protecting adult entertainment workers than the federal standard of using barrier controls like condoms.
In its findings, Standards Board staff noted that the “concept of universal precautions is integral to protecting employees from harmful exposures to bloodborne pathogens. With latency periods for sexually transmitted infections, even the industry’s intense STD testing protocol is not as protective of employee health as observing universal precautions.”
The FSC in its petition said that it requested regulation that left other means that do not require the use of barrier protection and left options for protection and prevention through testing protocols and medical advances.
Michael Stabile, the FSC’s communications director, told XBIZ that “neither of the proposed petition decisions made any new pronouncements.”
“[The Standards Board] merely reiterated that they would be evaluating the petitions in respect to existing bloodborne pathogen standards,” Stabile said. “It's now up to us to prove that our protocols surpass those standards.”
However, Rick Taylor, a consultant for the AHF-backed Prop 60 porn-condom campaign in California, said the new findings by the Standards Board back his group’s position — that barrier controls should be mandated.
“The porn industry is asking health experts to kill the condom use rule,” he said. “But cooler heads and science prevailed and California’s top experts on worker safety reaffirmed that condoms are the gold standard for protecting performers.”
Both petitions will be discussed at the next meeting of the Standards Board slated for Thursday, Aug. 18, in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Stabile of the FSC said that “it's absolutely important for stakeholders to attend the meeting.”
“We are looking forward to the hearings, since they will mark the first time that adult performers have been granted a real voice in the regulations that affect their lives and health — something that was insisted upon by the Standards Board in February, when more than 100 adult performers showed up to protest Cal/OSHA's condoms-and-goggles regulation,” Stabile said.
The next Cal/OSHA Standards Board meeting is slated Thursday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. at the Walnut Creek City Council Chambers at 1666 N. Main St. in Walnut Creek, CA 94596.