The film ‘Rust’ will always have a dark cloud hanging over it. It wasn’t the first completely preventable gun death on a set but with proper training and safety considerations, it absolutely should be the last. Accidents like this don’t happen without a number of failures along the way. In fact, it’s hard to think of it as a true accident considering the many faulty procedures and missteps.
Whether you will ever be on a set with a gun, you always have safety considerations for everything from COVID to filming from a moving vehicle.
To Keep Your Camera Crew Safe
1. Get Proper Permissions
One of the foundational safety considerations is to get proper permits and permissions for where and when you’ll film. Cutting corners in this way led to what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) called an “entirely preventable” death in 2014. Sarah Jones, a young camera assistant, was struck and killed by a train in 2014 while working on the set of “Midnight Rider.” For their part in her death, filmmakers faced criminal charges and the production company and individuals faced fines. A jury awarded $11.2 million to Jones’ family. The director of “Midnight Rider,” Randall Miller, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in her death.
Midnight Rider filmmakers had been denied permission to film on the tracks but took what they likely believed was low risk and filmed there anyway. When you’re dealing with safety, the stakes are just too high to make your own rules.
2. Hire Crew With Appropriate Training
Depending on your production, you’ll need crew members with different levels of training. A property (prop) master handles everything from wigs to firearms, each of which will require a different level of training. You must also consider additional safety designations if your set will include pyrotechnics, filming from a moving vehicle, or filming underwater. In addition, even small shoots need to consider COVID compliance. Bigger shoots need a COVID compliance officer.
3. Consider Temperatures
Winter is coming and with it, cooler temperatures. Provide shelter and breaks as needed. Similarly, in the hottest months of the year, staying compliant with OSHA’s guidelines to provide water, rest, and shade keeps workers from getting a heat-related illness. It also prevents them from missing work and you from getting fined.
Budget constraints should never hinder safe practices. Measures such as on-set medics, COVID compliance officers, street closures and more are necessities, not luxuries. If you don’t have the funds or resources to keep your camera crew safe, you don’t have a project.
Need a Crew?
Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock and can help you find the crew that is trained for your needs. Sign In to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find exactly what you need.