LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One week after over 100 safer sex advocates, including former adult film performers who became infected with HIV while working in the adult film industry, protested Cal/OSHA (California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health), offices in Los Angeles and Oakland over OSHA’s repeated delays in updating the state’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standards to better protect adult film workers by strengthening regulations on condom use in porn productions filmed in California, Cal/OSHA sent a letter to AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) stating that OSHA, “… has committed resources to the development of regulatory language,” and that “…final rulemaking documents will be sent to the (OSHA) Standard Board by the end of 2014.”
AHF first petitioned Cal/OSHA, the state’s health and safety regulatory and watchdog organization, on December 17, 2009—nearly five years ago—asking OSHA to revise and clarify its Bloodborne Pathogens Standards to specifically include and spell out regulations regarding condom use by adult film performers in porn productions filmed anywhere in California. Since then, AHF and other safer sex advocates concerned about adult film workplace safety have been met with repeated bureaucratic delays and inaction by the agency.
However, after AHF spearheaded two protests targeting OSHA offices in Los Angeles and Oakland on November 5th and 6th—as well as a November 7th press conference also hosted by AHF announcing intentions to mount a statewide voter ballot initiative for a similar state law strengthening worker safety regulations on adult film sets—OSHA officials sent a letter dated November 14th to AHF President Michael Weinstein, the original petitioner to OSHA. (Note: A letter dated Nov. 3, 2014 to OSHA from AHF demanding accountability and action on the years-old matter was also delivered to OSHA officials as part of the Oakland and L.A. protests).
In its November 14th letter to AHF, OSHA acknowledged, “The Standards Board is aware that this matter has been pending for quite some time.” OSHA also stated that, “The matter pending at this time is the development of regulatory language,” and that in its “…July 17, 2014 Standards Board Business Meeting, Dave Thomas, Standards Board Chair, asked the Division to expedite the process so that a public hearing could take place in the near future.” OSHA also then suggested that it expects the public hearing date “…will be in March or April 2015.”
“I am grateful that Cal/OSHA has committed in writing to have documents to their Standards Board by the end of the year that will clarify and strengthen worker safety laws on adult film sets in California, but I am also disappointed that it has taken five years to get here,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “During those five years, OSHA has had three different Chiefs heading the organization. More critically: in this same timespan, there have been at least four cases of HIV identified in adult film performers found while they were working in the industry—one in 2010, and again last year, during the summer of 2013, when three adult performers were found to have HIV.”
In AHF’s November 3, 2014 letter to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board demanding action, Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director of Public Health for AIDS Healthcare Foundation wrote, “Although workers in adult films should enjoy protections under the current phrasing of the regulation, the adult film industry has steadfastly refused to take any steps to protect its workers from diseases spread by bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious material. This is an issue of last resort. It is time for the Standards Board to finish what was started five years ago.”
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 362,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.