Cambria: Adult Industry Should Unite In Dealing With OSHA

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—At an invitation-only meeting arranged by Steve Hirsch of Vivid Entertainment Group, veteran adult industry attorney Paul Cambria gave an update on the industry's current dealings with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) to a group of about 25 company heads and their representatives.

In attendance were representatives from Evil Angel Productions, Mercenary Pictures, Adam & Eve, ClubJenna/Playboy, Anabolic Video, Kick Ass Pictures, X-Play Entertainment and others who heard Cambria discuss his own dealings with the agency, as well as what the industry can expect if (or when) Cal-OSHA attempts to enforce its "suggested" standards for healthcare on the sets of adult movies.

"I've been involved so far in one of the Cal-OSHA cases, and we went quite a distance in that case," Cambria said. "Strategically, what we decided to do in the end was to back out and compromise the fines."

"There's been a lot written about what's happening with Cal-OSHA," he continued. "They don't have the manpower to simply go to every company. They act on complaints, and what's prompted this meeting is, apparently there's a list of companies that there's been a complaint filed against because the companies basically are not using condoms."

Cambria noted that although few health-related citations have been issued so far, Cal-OSHA's approach has been to visit adult sets and ask to see the company's "hazardous substance" and/or blood-borne pathogens policies. The agency has also handed out citations for "hazardous work conditions" like exposed wires or unlabeled chemicals.

"For example, there was some Barbasol—you know, that blue stuff they put combs in—in an unlabeled bottle; they cited them for that," Cambria explained. "They had an extension cord going across a doorway; they cited them for that. That's a tripping hazard. They had some other wire hanging from the wall; they cited them for that. They also cited them because they said they didn't have a written policy in place to handle accidents or hazards on the job."

More central to adult production, however, were two cases where companies were sanctioned for not using condoms during sex scenes; one involving Evasive Angles, which reportedly ended with the company paying a fine and agreeing to use condoms in its productions, and the other involving one of Cambria's clients, whom he declined to name, which ended with a compromise where the company paid a smaller fine and changed its production policies.

"What they've [Cal-OSHA] done is, they've published what they said were suggested regulations and suggested ways of addressing the problem," Cambria told the assemblage, "but it's clear that when we dealt with the enforcement people at OSHA, they have decided that these are the only ways to do it. As far as they're concerned, we're talking about condoms, absolutely, with no exception. They're talking about protecting the face, protecting the mouth—I mean, we got into dental dams and goggles and all sorts of crazy stuff. As far as they're concerned, that's what you need. Even though they're 'suggested,' it's clear that their position is that you have to have them."

Cambria recounted some of his many discussions with the agency, including such topics as the industry's current healthcare and testing regimes, the impact on the industry of a condom mandate, and what legal options the industry has open to it.

Cambria said he believed that OSHA's next step will be increased inspections of movie sets, and warned that all companies should make sure that they have healthcare and blood-borne pathogen policies in place before they're visited by OSHA inspectors.

Several possible courses of action were discussed among the attendees, but one point that Cambria stressed was that the industry's response to Cal-OSHA's impending onslaught should be a united one, and that the industry speak with one voice when confronting the agency.

Cambria concluded his talk by recommending that all adult companies encourage their attorneys to come together to discuss possible legal and/or political actions which the industry could take to head off any attempted industry-wide condom mandate from Cal-OSHA. Those companies and attorneys wishing to take part in such discussions should get in touch with Cambria at (716) 849-1333.