Law proposed to require condom use in California porn


(May 2011; CA)

Legislation is being proposed in California that would require porn producers to supply condoms on set to porn stars*. The proposal will be reviewed on June 7, 2011 in Los Angeles in a public forum.

Considering that we are now in the 3rd decade of the AIDS epidemic, it seems like this proposed legislation is necessary to prevent the further spread of sexually-transmitted diseases and infections. Not to mention it’s a workplace health & safety issue–specifically the performers’*.

In March 2011, California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) fined two adult film labels including Larry Flynt’s Hustler Video and Forsaken Pictures with penalties that reached up to $14,000 each for failing to provide condoms on porn sets & exposing workers* to sexually transmitted diseases. Hustler was also fined for not having a written injury and illness policy and for not getting actors vaccinated for hepatitis C. Most porn producers claim that porn’s function is to create the fantasy & that not using condoms is sexier & less sterile. It allows viewers to live in a bubble insulated from the realities of pregnancy & disease. But some of us who watch porn incorporate what we see with what we do. As far as I see it, the legislation would not only protect employees* immediately on set, but might indirectly impact viewers so they consider safer sex practices. Why can’t safe sex be equally as hot & raunchy? I also see the proposed legislation as being consistent with California law which banned smoking in bars & restaurants in order to protect the health of employees who were exposed to second-hand smoke.

The legislation was drafted in response to a 2009 complaint filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles nonprofit which advocates for safer sex in the adult film industry. The organization felt that porn actors were at risk for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections by not using condoms on porn sets. Cal/OSHA agreed that workplace safety laws which protect workers such as nurses who are exposed to blood-borne and fluid-borne illnesses should also extend to porn actors. Until now, no one ever applied this state law to include porn stars. The proposed legislation was especially created to factor in conditions that porn actors might encounter.

The Cal/OSHA legislation would hold porn producers responsible for ensuring that workers’ health is prioritized by requiring the “use of condoms or other barrier protection to prevent genital and oral contact with the blood or (any other bodily fluids) of another person.”

The proposed legislation would also require porn producers to:

  1. provide non-expired condoms on porn sets
  2. supply performers with fresh condoms when there are multiple sex partners
  3. ban performers from sharing razors
  4. clean sex toys
  5. clean bodily fluids (semen, vaginal excretions, urine, blood, fecal matter) between sex acts with the same or different partners
  6. provide medical services & follow-up care to employees who are exposed to possible infectious materials
  7. provide shower facilities to performers
  8. clean laundry that’s contaminated with human fluids
  9. vaccinate workers for human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B

I think that porn producers will adapt & learn to eroticize condoms & safer sex much like it was during the 1980’s & 1990’s in the wake of the AIDS epidemic. Some porn producers feel the legislation will be reason to leave CA so they can continue on-camera unsafe sex practices elsewhere. I’m sure there will be smaller, independent & amateur producers who will fly under the radar & produce unsafe sex that gets marketed as underground porn.

Cal/OSHA is in a pre-rulemaking advisory meeting stage. Comments from interested parties are welcomed by Cal/OSHA. Contact: Deborah Gold. The discussion draft, the agenda, and attachments of the proposed Cal/OSHA legislation are all available here.

Advisory committee meeting to discuss — Bloodborne Pathogens in the Adult Film Industry
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
10:00 am to 3:30 pm
Cal/Trans Building
100 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA

For the porn actors, porn producers, & porn audiences reading this article, I’m curious to know how you think the Cal/OSHA legislation will effect your experience of making &/or watching porn.

*I use the terms “porn star,” “performer,” “worker,” & “employee” interchangeably in this article to reference individuals who have sex on camera in adult films.

HEALTH & SAFETY
California Workplace Accidents and Complaints
To report a workplace accident or file a complaint against a CA-based employer, contact the Cal/OSHA Enforcement Unit District Office closest to the workplace where the accident occurred or the complaint conditions exist. For non-emergency complaint situations, you can complete a Web Complaint and mail or fax it to the Cal/OSHA Enforcement Unit District Office closest to the workplace where the complaint conditions exist.

To obtain assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation, call 1-800-963-9424, or contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation Area Office nearest your workplace, or email us at InfoCons@dir.ca.gov.

For all other inquiries, call (510) 286-7000

Cal/OSHA Hotline for health and safety concerns in the California Adult Film Industry
Employees who believe their CA-based employer is not complying with the law can file a complaint with Cal/OSHA. The name of any person who submits a complaint to Cal/OSHA is kept confidential. To file a complaint related to hazards in the adult film industry, call (213) 237-9958.

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