OSHA inspectors spend their days sorting through the details of missing machine guards and slippery walkways. That is a long way from the world of Sex, drugs and, potentially, rock and roll. But some recent cases have you wondering if OSHA hasn’t decided to take a walk on the wild side.
In California, Cal-OSHA, the state agency enforces safe workplace requirements, has been wrestling with how to regulate the porn industry, particularly how to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. This month, Cal-OSHA fined a film company run by a porn star $78,000 for violations, including not requiring actors to use condoms, the porn industry’s versions of Personal Protective Equipment. However, earlier this year the Cal-OSHA Standards Board considered and failed to get the required number of votes for a blanket rule requiring condom use for all porn films. One argument against the requirement – it could force the industry back underground. the other arguement was, if you require condoms, what else would you require:
“If you think about how porn is looking today, and how it’ll look…. we’re talking about gloves, full body cover, and goggles,” said Eric Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry trade group. “It’s going to turn into surgical porn.”
Surgical porn? Kinky!
The whole decriminalization of marijuana has also created some strange issues for the government. Even though states have allowed medical or recreational use, pot use is still against federal law. And yet, OSHA needs to ensure that the new marijuana industry operates safely. A tragic event at a New Mexico medical marijuana lab sent two workers to the hospital and resulted in an OSHA fine of $17,500. You can read about it here. Clearly this is an industry that still needs to grasp its responsibilities to provide a safe workplace.
Rock and Roll
Oh and, as for Rock and Roll, that came last fall when a TV station did an investigation of the mind-numbingly loud music played in health club spin classes. They found that noise levels were consistently higher than allowed by OSHA standards. Watch that video here. No word on whether OSHA is investigating music noise levels.