OSHA Imposes Maximum Fines After "Walking Dead" Stuntman Death

When you hear the words "Workplace Safety", a few images may come to mind. A factory worker cleaning up a spill, an office worker watching out for a loose cord or paper on the floor, or a contractor making sure his safety requirements are met while working on a new building. What about a man fighting swarms of the undead on the streets of New York? Not your traditional workplace but for the cast and crew of AMCs hit show "The Walking Dead", its a normal day.

On that show many people see horrible, post apocalyptic terrors from your nightmares, but to one stuntman back in July, the horrors became all too real.

33 year-old stuntman John Bernecker died on July 12th, 2017 after plunging head first from 22 foot balcony to the floor below. One of the veteran stunt coordinators explained that it was the "ABCs of stunts", a simple stunt that went horribly wrong. With such a tragedy on-set, many questions arose. "Why weren't more safety measures taken?", "Could this have been avoided?" "What went wrong?"

On January 5th, 2018 , the U.S Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Heath Administration imposed the maximum fines to motion picture company Stalwart Films LLC for failing to protect their employees from fall hazards.

OSHA issued a citation and proposed penalties totaling the maximum of $12,675.

“This tragedy should serve as a wake-up call for the entertainment industry,” said OSHA Atlanta Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. “The entire industry needs to commit to safety practices for actors and stunt people involved in this type of work.”

The thought of going to work and not coming home is a scary idea. Unfortunately though it does happen and it takes everyone, from employers to employees to makes sure you are safe at work. The only positive that could come from this tragedy is that workplace safety conditions will improve and another life will be saved.

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