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Accidents on film production sites

Financial pressures may be causing Hollywood TV and film productions to be less safety conscious, according to entertainment industry insiders. The problem could potentially impact Louisiana workers who find employment on productions filming in the state.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, serious on-set accidents have been on the rise in recent years, with the number of reported incidents nearly doubling between 2014 and 2015. In one well-publicized case, a 27-year-old camera assistant was struck and killed by a train while shooting a scene on a railroad bridge in Georgia in February 2014. The producer/director of the film failed to get permission to shoot on the bridge and subsequently received a jail sentence.

Hollywood started taking safety more seriously after actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed in a helicopter accident while making "The Twilight Zone Movie" in 1982. Experts say that film safety standards have vastly improved since then, and most studios are very concerned with the well-being of film and television crews. However, a reduction in DVD sales and other revenue sources has put the squeeze on many production budgets, and some fear on-set safety is being compromised as a result. For example, budget concerns may have played a role in a 2015 plane crash that took the life of a pilot working on the upcoming Tom Cruise film "American Made." The man's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming the film's producers "rushed flight operations to save money".

Louisiana workers injured on a film set may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance policy. Injured workers may want to meet with an attorney to determine how to go about filing a claim as well as to learn the nature and amount of benefits that may be available.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Are Hollywood Budget Pressures Creating Dangers on Set?," Jenna Susko Army Corral, Nov. 22, 2016

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