Too quiet on the set: Film ac­ci­dents of­ten go un­told

In­ves­ti­ga­tion finds deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries are be­ing ‘swept un­der the rug’

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD -

The Associated Press de­ter­minedthat since 1990, at least 43 peo­ple have died on sets in the United States and more than 150 have been left with life-al­ter­ing in­juries.

But those fig­ures don’t al­ways tell the en­tire story. The AP found sev­eral in­stances in which ma­jor ac­ci­dents did not ap­pear in an Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion data­base of the most se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents.

The most glar­ing omis­sion is the 1993 shoot­ing death of ac­tor Bran­don Lee dur­ing film­ing of the movie The

de­spite North Carolina OSHA of­fi­cials amass­ing a 1,500-page in­ves­tiga­tive file. An agency spokesman blamed a cler­i­cal er­ror.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, at least 37 peo­ple have died in film­ing ac­ci­dents since 2000, in­clud­ing a worker killed in Bu­dapest on the set of the Blade Run­ner se­quel.

In­juries to fa­mous ac­tors typ­i­cally make head­lines, but that’s not the case when most off-screen work­ers are hurt.

“I think it’s al­ways been some­thing that’s been swept un­der the rug,” said Stephen Farber, a jour­nal­ist who chron­i­cled the af­ter­math of the deadly 1982 Twi­light Zone he­li­copter crash that killed ac­tor Vic Mor­row and two chil­dren.

The death of Lee, su­per­star Bruce Lee’s son, prompted changes on how firearms are treated on sets. Yet it also il­lus­trates the pal­try sums com­pa­nies face af­ter se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents.

OSHA fined The Crow pro­duc­ers $84,000, but later re­duced the penalty to $55,000. The film grossed more than $50 mil­lion.

Some ac­ci­dents, like the Fe­bru­ary 2014 death of as­sis­tant cam­era op­er­a­tor Sarah Jones, who was hit by a train while film­ing in Ge­or­gia, be­come cat­a­lysts for broader safety dis­cus­sions.

Her par­ents have cre­ated a foun­da­tion in her honor and are plan­ning a doc­u­men­tary about their daugh­ter.

“She loved the in­dus­try,” her fa­ther Richard Jones said. “We don’t want to tear it down. We want to make it bet­ter and make it safer.”

have died on movie sets in the US since 1990 and more than 150 have suf­fered life-al­ter­ing in­juries, ac­cord­ing to AP.

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