The International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, has released an 11-page set of protocols and recommendations for the safe return to work during the coronavirus pandemic, including a core principle that “no one should have to waive their rights or assume liability in order to go back to work.”
See the full set of protocols and recommendations here.
The guild’s camera crew-specific recommendations are in addition to the health and safety protocols issued Monday by the Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, which did not address the liability issue, although there has been considerable speculation that some employers may request such waivers from their casts and crews.
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“The most effective and broad-based testing and screening must be put into place as part of any return to work protocols,” the Cinematographers Guild said in its Principles, Key Recommendations and Recommended Departmental Protocols. “Getting people back to work before we have robust protocols in place has the potential to cause long-lasting damage.”
There’s also been speculation that shows will return to work with smaller crews, but the guild said that “Our shared goal must be to get as many people back to work as possible. Arbitrarily limiting the size of crews and attempting to combine jobs leads to inefficient, unsafe work practices and harms workers financially. Department heads and their crews, in collaboration with line producers, UPMs and assistant directors are still in the best position to manage the staffing needs and scheduling of their departments to achieve the quality and efficiency that we all desire.”
Addressing the concern that exposure to the virus could be compounded by the industry’s tradition of brutally long workdays, the guild said that “Workplace practices that compromise the health and immune systems of employees and contribute to vulnerability and illness of employees should be eliminated. Limit the duration of workdays and excessive consecutive workdays whenever possible and extend rest periods whenever possible to ensure cast and crew remain healthy and receive adequate rest.”
As for the possibility that employers may look to hire younger crews who are at lower risk to the coronavirus’ most severe symptoms, the guild said that “There cannot be discriminatory practices…under the guise of safety, e.g., ageism, sharing of medical information.”
The recommendations also say that “There must be an autonomous safety point person in the worksite charged with addressing issues as they arise and given the authority to have unsafe practices or conditions corrected,” ant that “If people are sick or caring for others who are sick, they must have a paid sick leave option that allows them to stay home without undermining their economic security and forcing them to make dangerous choices.”
The protocols also lay out key recommendations on need for social distancing whenever possible during production, and note that “The Company must provide all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required, including face masks, face shields, sanitizing wipes, sanitizing spray, and latex or nitrile gloves (depending on work location),” and the instruction of their proper use.
The guild said that companies must also “employ a sufficient number of employees within the camera department, so that at least one person can be assigned the primary duty of cleaning and sanitizing the equipment and expendables utilized as necessary.”
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