Tragedy befalls a crewmember on Disney film set

Employers in San Bernadino and throughout California have a responsibility to protect their workers from unsafe workplaces. It doesn't matter if that work environment is a manufacturing facility or one more unique to California -- such as a film set.

Regulators at the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, recently fined a movie producer for certain safety violations. The movie, an upcoming release from Disney Studios, is a dramatization about The Lone Ranger and stars Johnny Depp as Tonto.

The film set came under investigation when a 48-year-old crewmember died. The worker was cleaning a water tank for an upcoming underwater scene when something went wrong. According to officials, the producer should have hired a standby diver to watch nearby. In addition, officials cited the producer for not proactively evaluating the worker's fitness to dive -- a process that could easily have been checked through a medical examination.

Given moviegoers' increasingly rising expectations for action scenes and special effects, the possibility of harm befalling film crews is a very real threat. Considering that many film sets have multi-million dollar budgets, the failure to take adequate safety precautions is that much more inexcusable.

However, employees may not always be certain of what rights they may have in the workplace, or what safety precautions may be covered by applicable laws. That's where an experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide invaluable insight. An attorney will know the legal obligations imposed by the state's OSHA laws, and may be able to help workers take proactive measures to avoid injury. Of course, an attorney can also help workers who have been injured at work, as well.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Cal OSHA fines 'Lone Ranger' producer over crew member's death," Richard Verrier, March 25, 2013

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