Responding to the recent deaths of stunt performers on the sets of The Walking Dead and Deadpool 2, SAG-AFTRA has established a President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety to evaluate and address workplace safety issues on film and TV productions.
“Our industry has undergone significant change, and it only makes sense to review our safety practices to ensure the well-being of our members and others on the set,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “There is more to be done by all of us to ensure the safety of all performers working in our industry.”
The union says that over the past several months, it’s been “actively reviewing safety incidents” that took the lives of stuntman John Bernecker near Atlanta in July while filming a high-fall stunt on The Walking Dead, and stuntwoman Joi Harris, who was killed a month later in British Columbia while performing a motorcycle stunt on Deadpool 2. “These reviews are ongoing,” the union said.
Long workdays, driving long distances to the workplace and inclement-weather protection will be among the issues the commission will explore. Its findings then will be “brought to the attention of the studios and producers,” the union said.
In its latest negotiations for a new film and TV contract, the union secured an agreement with management’s Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to hold safety meetings with the individual companies to review, discuss and assess safety issues across the industry. “These meetings are underway,” the union said.
“Each of us has a fundamental right to safety in the workplace and to be treated with dignity and respect,” Carteris said.