Cal/OSHA to Review Oakland Transcript to Plan Next Steps

Cal/OSHA to Review Oakland Transcript to Plan Next Steps

OAKLAND, Calif. — Yesterday’s Cal/OSHA meeting discussing bloodborne pathogen exposure standards in the adult film industry offered more contentious dialogue between adult entertainment stakeholders — including members of the industry trade groups Free Speech Coalition and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee — and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

For years, both sides have maintained their own sets of views on how to address hazards associated with working in the adult film industry. 

The 6½-hour advisory meeting at the Elihu Harris Office Building in Oakland was informational, as well as confrontational, in nature, but no vote was scheduled in regards to two competing petitions proposed by both the FSC and AHF.

Nathan Schmidt, who heads Cal/OSHA’s legal unit and who chaired the advisory meeting on Tuesday, told XBIZ today that the competing petitions are now on hold while state officials go over the testimony made at the meeting in Oakland.

“We’re going to internally be reviewing yesterday’s meeting,” Schmidt said. “We’ve collected quite a bit of information, and we will likely have follow-up questions for the stakeholders.”

Schmidt emphasized that there is “nothing definite” about the next steps — whether the petitions will move forward and be voted on by the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board or that another advisory commitee will be planned to expand upon yesterday’s meeting.

Schmidt said that Cal/OSHA will consider not just yesterday’s “fact-finding” testimony, but all of the other testimony in previous advisory meetings on the subject as well as existing appeals court precedent to determine whether new regulations are called for and whether they will advise the Standards Board as such.

Yesterday’s advisory meeting attracted nearly two dozen panelists, along with about 40 individuals, comprising performers and producers, listening in on the proceedings.

The advisory meeting sought out dialogue over the adult entertainment industry’s protocols for business structures, employment relationships and decision-making.

The meeting also questioned whether there is a need to amend or expand bloodborne pathogens standards in the state for porn performers. Currently, the state has its own standards for professional boxers and martial arts fighters.

In addition, the meeting took a close look at additional methods of protection beyond condoms, like testing under the FSC’s performer test solution, the PASS system; HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PReP); and vaccines.

At center of the issue of bloodborne pathogen exposure of film sets are two polar-opposite petitions on the table.

The FSC has filed with state officials Petition 560, a proposal that would focus on new alternatives for barrier control, while the AHF has pushed for Petition 557, which is similar to the ill-fated § 5193.1, which was shot down in February by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.

The draft legislation for § 5193.1 would have greatly expanded barrier protection for porn performers and likely would have required performers to wear goggles to avoid ocular infections and dental dams for oral sex.

On Tuesday, however, AHF counsel, Suzanne Marria, began her camp’s dialogue by re-introducing § 5193.1 — the previously axed proposal — as the right path for the state to take. Marria went so far as saying that AHF should resubmit the proposal to the state.

Leue, noting he hoped for a “productive meeting” between the two parties, would have none of it, saying that Marria’s dialogue “sets the tone on how they want to work with us.”

He dismissed Marria’s proposal to bring § 5193.1 back to the table.

“This is wrong and not right,” he said. “We are hearing the same rhetoric we’ve heard for years. The AHF simply says, ‘Just adopt this.’

Leue emphasized that, if passed by the Standards Board, one of the petitions “will create the first regulation in existence in the U.S. covering this specific industry, which is unique in its intersectionality between public health, sexual health and workplace safety.”

“What’s important to us is that our workers are guaranteed rights and freedoms and control over their own bodies and that employers don’t dictate sexual health choices or dictate the private life of them,” Leue said.

“There is a lot of science out there; the last seven years has brought out a lot of change in public health and the way we look at sexual health, protection and prevention.”

At yesterday’s meeting, the AHF was represented by Adam Cohen, Jennifer Ketcham (formerly known as Penny Flame), attorney Suzanne Marria, along with Drs. Gary Richwald and Jeffrey Klausner.

The FSC was backed by Leue and the group’s policy director, Siouxsie Q, along with attorney Karen Tynan and a number of APAC officials — performers Chanel Preston, Verta and Ela Darling.

Also joining the FSC’s camp was ATMLA owner and talent agent Mark Schechter, Dr. David Holland and Dr. Peter Miao, who operates Cutting Edge Testing.

Other participants included David Kernazitskas, Marley Hart, Steve Smith and Eric Berg of the Standards Board. Also participating were Cal/OSHA Chief Julianne Sum and Israel Nieves of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Prior to the conclusion of the advisory meeting, stakeholders offered public comment. Those offering statements included mr. Pam, Koko Kitty, Nikki Darling, Karla Lane, Sam Solo, Hernando Chavez, Julia Ann, Isa Sorrenti, Shine Louise Houston and Jiz Lee, among others.

Pictured: Ela Darling, left, Chanel Preston, Dr. David Holland, Eric Paul Leue, Karen Tynan and Siouxsie Q.