AHF: Cal/OSHA to Consider New Petition to Amend Adult Film Worker Safety Regulations in California

AIDS Healthcare Foundation submits new petition to Cal/OSHA to amend and clarify Cal/OSHA’s current Bloodborne Pathogens standards (Section 5193) to protect adult film workers in California against STDs.

Despite receiving a majority vote in favor (3 to 2) from the Cal/OSHA Standards Board on a previous similar safety amendment at the February Standard Board Meeting, the amendment fell short: four votes in favor were needed from the seven member Board for the regulation to pass.

OAKLAND (March 17, 2016) California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board has pledged to revisit the issue of safety for workers in the adult film industry within the next six months. In February, the Standards Board narrowly rejected a proposed amendment to its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (Title 8, Section 5193.1) to “clarify required protections for workers in the adult film industry.” The updated regulations were intended to protect adult film workers against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by clarifying and strengthening Cal/OSHA’s requirement that adult performers use condoms on set and producers pay for vaccines and medical visits. The Standards Board voted 3-2 in favor of the proposed amendment, but needed four “yes” votes from the seven-member board for the updated regulations to pass.

After the vote, Cal/OSHA issued a news release reminding the adult industry, the media and the public that “barrier protection including condoms is still required to protect adult film workers from exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials,” a standard known as Title 8, Section 5193 that has been in effect since 1993. Many of those involved in the adult film industry do not adhere to these existing regulations, thereby creating potentially dangerous working conditions for performers.

Following the Board’s decision in February, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the non-profit organization that originally proposed the amendment to the regulations in 2009, drafted and submitted another petition to the Cal/OSHA board to review the proposal once more. In a March 3, 2016 letter to AHF, Cal/OSHA stated that it had received the new petition and is required to “report its decision no later than six months following the receipt of such proposal.”

“After taking a number of years to consider our original petition, I appreciate the board’s commitment to revisiting this worker safety proposal in a more timely manner,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We look forward to the opportunity to reopen the discussion with OSHA as well as the industry and anticipate that the board will ultimately vote in favor of protecting the health of adult film workers in California.”

The Board’s February decision was motivated largely by testimonies from members of the adult film industry who attended the February meeting in Oakland. Although they firmly opposed proposed regulations on the basis that the porn industry could be forced out of state or underground, many speakers expressed a willingness to work with Cal/OSHA to impose some sort of clear safety protections. AHF hopes to reach a positive resolution moving forward on this important issue.