Cal/OSHA Looks at Computer Training for Porn Performers

Aug 18, 2010 4:00 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — The Cal/OSHA standards board held its first subcommittee meeting in response to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s petition to amend state health code standard to more specifically address the adult industry and the safety of workers.

The 12-member subcommittee, which met today in downtown L.A., consisted of adult community personnel representing different areas of the industry including talent, producers and attorneys in addition to a variety of public health advocates.

Industry members included performer Traci Bryant; Steven Scarborough, president of Hot House Entertainment; FSC attorney Kevin Bland; Immoral Productions’ Dan Leal; AHF attorney Brian Chase; and attorney Paul Cambria among others.

The goal of the meeting was to look at control measures in the industry and to get down to the nuts and bolts of how to change health code to better protect adult industry performers.

Cal/OSHA’s senior safety engineer Deborah Gold said that the meetings are preliminary activities to allow full disclosure and dialogue.

“The committee needs to justify that the changes will be as effective as the existing federal standard,” Gold said.

The meeting included a discussion on worker training and whether it should be provided only by the employer, or whether some training could be provided by a group of employers or a third party.

Several questions were raised as to how the training would be documented and what kind of training needs to be provided for each production.

Cambria recommended using a platform such as interactive computer training.

“There would be an acknowledgment by the individual that they are listening and responding, and you’d have a record of the training,” he said.

“We’re here to work with folks to come up with a solution. I love the idea of an interactive computer that would work for adult,” said Diane Duke, FSC’s executive director.

Duke also presented FSC’s standard revisions proposal, which included various guidelines on safety and instructions on how actors can perform self exams.

This became an issue for several of the health advocates. The L.A .County Health Department’s Peter Kerndt said that some STDs do not have visible signs or symptoms and can be difficult to detect by self exams.

“We need to ensure that any plan is explicit,” he said.

Implementing an awareness of workers rights into the training process was also discussed. Some industry professionals said that many actors don’t even realize there are health standards in place for their protection.

“The practices that are illegal are widespread in the industry. Issues like workers rights are essential to training,” said Cristina Rodriguez-Hart of the Reproductive Health Interest Group.

Other issues that were raised included whether general training of workers should be part of site-specific training.

“Training should be provided through certification by third parties to be valid for a certain period of time,” AIM spokesman Dr. Eric Aranow said.

“It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide training in the Cal/OSHA standard,” Gold replied. “There are certain things that need to be site-specific. In the end, it’s the employer that has to address the site specific issue.”

The meeting also focused on what are the barriers to implementation of controls for different acts involving exposure to blood and other substances.

Some proposed control measures included simulation, ejaculation outside the body, condom and other barrier protection, including lube and the use of cleanable or disposable materials for sets.

If those precautions aren’t used, the question is what can be used to provide equivalent safety for bloodborne pathogens and other substances.

The next subcommittee meeting is scheduled Sept. 14 in Oakland. It will focus on what sexual health services should be offered.

A meeting that will be open to the public is set for Oct. 25.

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