TV fans in Minnesota might have heard about the tragic accident that occurred on the set of ‘The Walking Dead” that claimed the life of a professional stuntman. The 33-year-old man was killed in July 2017 after he fell while filming a scene. The film company in charge of production has recently been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to provide adequate fall protection.
OSHA has proposed that Stalwart Films LCC be fined $12, 675, which is the maximum penalty allowed. The company issued an email statement on January 5 that said it disagrees with the citation. The company claimed in the email that all of its sets comply with or exceed safety standards. However, the OSHA citation lists several methods the company could have utilized to offer more protection from falls.
An assistant director who was present when the fall happened said that the stuntman was supposed to fall 22 feet and land on a pad. The stuntman started the fall over a balcony, but then, according to the assistant director, he appeared to grab the railing to attempt to stop his fall. He ended up landing on concrete a couple inches from the pad.
The film company has 15 days from the receipt of the citation to respond. It can either comply, contest the findings or request an informal meeting with the OSHA regional director in Atlanta, where the accident occurred.
Many people in the film and television industry work jobs as independent contractors. These workers do not have the same protections as employees. OSHA does not directly compensate workers for workplace accidents, but most employees are covered by workers’ compensation. Independent contractors do not have this coverage. Nevertheless, independent contractors who have been injured while on the job may be able to sue the responsible parties for damages.