As California and New York are starting to explore ways to reopen when the worst of the coronavirus is over, Hollywood’s unions and management’s AMPTP are working on safety protocols to get film and television production re-started. “We’re working aggressively with industry safety experts and coordinating with other guilds and unions on this issue right now,” David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director, told Deadline.
The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, which has been implementing safety procedures for decades, is expected to play a major role in establishing those protocols. “Plans are happening but it’s premature to discuss them right now,” an industry source said. “A lot of conversations are happening,” said another.
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Formed in 1965, the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee is comprised of guild, union, and management representatives who research, write and recommend guidelines for on-set safety practices.
“As members look forward to the time when we all get back to work, there’s starting to be questions about the safety protocols that we’ll use then,” John Lindley, president of the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, says in a video posted on the guild’s website last week (you can watch it below).
“The good news is that the discussion is underway, and that speaks to everyone’s certainty that we are gonna get back to work,” Rebecca Rhine, the Cinematographers Guild’s national executive director, says in the video. “Shows will get back at different times, depending on the specifics. The International (IATSE) has a committee that’s going to look at safety across all of the IA’s work, and then ultimately that conversation for the entertainment industry will make its way back to the joint Labor-Management Safety Committee.”
Added Lindley, “I often say that the actors will be the deciding factor for a lot of work, because they are the least protected people on the set; they can’t do their work and wear masks and gloves necessarily. But there are a lot of other genres where maybe people could get back to work safely.”
The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee includes representatives from the major Hollywood studios and SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE and the Basic Crafts Unions. Over the years, the Committee has created a General Code of Safe Practices, 41 Industry Safety Bulletins, four Safety Fact Sheets, and Procedural Guidelines as resources for film and television productions. These guidelines address a wide-range of production safety issues, including stunts, firearms, helicopters, animal handling, vehicles, lift platforms, camera safety, and severe weather. The safety bulletins haven’t been updated since February, and none currently addresses the COVID-19 crisis.
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