Industry News

AIDS Healthcare Foundation Petition

A petition was filed on December 17,2009 by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, that is why this meeting came about. Here is a copy of the petition-

Sent by  AIDS Healthcare Foundation Michael Weinstein President

Re: Petition for Revision of Bloodborne Pathogens Standards

Pursuant to Labor Code sections 144.7 and 142.2, AIDS Healthcare Foundation hereby petitions the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (the “Board”) to amend California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5193 “Bloodborne Pathogens” to clarify required protections for workers in the adult film industry.

Although workers in adult films should enjoy protections under the current phrasing of the regulation, as well as the Board’s determination that adult film workers are employees], the adult film  industry has steadfastly refused to take any steps to protect its workers from diseases  spread by blood borne pathogens, resulting in thousands of employees becoming infected  with sexually transmitted diseases. Clarification and enhanced enforcement of the rules  are called for.

The adult film industry accounts for thousands of workplace disease infections in  California every year. During the production of adult films, workers, including but not  limited to perfonners, are exposed to a number of bodily fluids and discharges that may  contain sexually transmitted diseases, including semen, blood, urine and feces. These  discharges meet the definition of other potentially infectious materials under California  Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5193 “Bloodborne Pathogens”.

Unlike other workers, such as health care workers for whom protective prophylaxis are required in the workplace, most workers in the adult film industry perform sexual acts without any protection from exposure to communicable diseases that may be contained in bodily fluids and discharges. LADPH officials estimate that

(i)      Adult Film Production:
(1)      Each employer engaged in the production of adult films is required to maintain engineering and work practice controls sufficient to protect employees from exposure to blood and/or any potentially infectious materials. Engineering and work practice controls include, but are not limited to:
(A)      Simulation of sex acts using acting, production and post-production techniques;
(B)      Ejaculation outside workers’ bodies;
(C)      Provision of and required use of condoms whenever acts of vaginal or anal sex are filmed;
(D)      The provision of condom-safe water-based or silicone-based lubricants to facilitate the use of condoms; and,
(E)      Plastic and other disposable materials to clean up sets.

(2)      Employers engaged in the production of adult films are required to maintain an exposure control plan in  compliance with section (c), but are not required to  maintain a sharps injury log under section (g)(3) and are  condoms and other protection are used in less than 20% of hardcore heterosexual  pornography.

LADPH has documented an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among
workers in the adult film industry.2 It attributes the epidemic to a variety of high-risk acts which workers are required to engage in, including “pervasive use of ejaculation into the  mouth”, “growing use of internal ejaculation with vaginal and anal sex”, “pervasive use  of unprotected anal sex”, “multiple partners over short time periods”, and “double­  vaginal and double-anal sex.” Most importantly, LADPH attributes the epidemic of  sexually transmitted diseases in the adult film industry to a lack ofprotective equipment  for perfOlmers, including condoms.

According to LADPH, workers in the adult film industry are ten times more likely
to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the population at  large. LADPH documented 2,013 individual cases of chlamydia and 965 cases of  gonorrhea among workers between the years 2003 and 2007. LADPH has observed that  many workers suffer multiple infections, with some performers having four or more  separate infections over the course of a year.

Because the risk to workers in the adult film industry is severe and ongoing,  AIDS Healthcare Foundation asks that the Board amend its current regulation governing  workplace exposure to bloodbome pathogens as follows:

• Current section (i) Appendix is renumbered as section G) Appendix.

• Current section (b) is amended to include the following definitions:

“Adult Film” means the production of any film, video, multimedia or  other recorded representation of sexual intercourse in which performers  actually engage in oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, including but not  limited to penetration by a penis, finger, or inanimate object; oral contact  with the anus or genitals of another performer; and/or any other activity that may result in the transmission of blood and/or any potentially  infectious materials.

“Sexually Transmitted Disease” means any infection commonly spread by
sexual conduct;including but not limited to HIV IAIDS, gonorrhea,  syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis, genital human papillomavirus infection, and  genital herpes.

• A new section (i) provides as follows: further exempt from the requirements of section (c)( 4) and
(5).

(3)      Employers engaged in the production of adult films are  required to comply with section (f), regarding the pre­  exposure provision of hepatitis B vaccine to employees.  Any employer engaged in the production of adult films  shall make available the hepatitis B vaccine and  vaccination for any employee engaged in the production of  adult films, at the employer’s expense.

(4)      Employers engaged in the production of adult films are  required to comply with section (g)(2) regarding  information and training to be provided to employees at the  employer’s expense. The training requirements of this  subsection may be satisfied by proof that the employee has

Petition for Revision of Bloodbome Pathogens Standards  received appropriate training at another workplace or from  an appropriate third party in the prior twelve months.  Employers engaged in the production of adult films are not  required to ensure that employees have received the  training specified in section (g)(2)( 13) regarding signs and  labels.

(5)      Where any worker engaged in the production of adult films  is exposed to any blood or potentially infectious materials,  the employer shall provide the employee with access to post-exposure prophylactic treatment for HIV,  comprehensive testing for other sexually transmitted
diseases, and appropriate treatment for any subsequently  diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases.
On behalf of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the thousands of workers who are
needlessly exposed to sexually transmitted disease during the production of adult films in
California, we look forward to your timely and favorable response to this petition.

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