• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Health Administration

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Film production company for Rust given wrist slap fine in death of Halyna Hutchins

The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) issued a Willful-Serious citation last week against Rust Movie Productions, LLC (RMP) for the avoidable death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the severe injury of director Joel Souza on the set of the film Rust on October 21, 2021.

Hutchins, 42 years old, was a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory and considered a rising star in the industry. She was killed when actor Alec Baldwin, who was also a producer of the film, accidentally fired a prop gun while rehearsing a scene of the Western. Souza, 48, was wounded in the shoulder by the same bullet.

Actor Alec Baldwin, left, stands with his attorney during a hearing, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. [AP Photo/Erik Thomas/New York Post]

According to New Mexico state law, a citation is required to be issued within six months following a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or related rules. The New Mexico Environmental Division (NMED), which oversees the state’s occupational safety and health administration, issued the citation on the eve of the deadline.

In a statement, NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said, “Our OSHA investigators determined that Rust Movie Productions, LLC failed in their obligation to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards. More specifically there were several management failures and more than sufficient evidence to suggest if standard industry practices were followed the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have occurred.”

The investigation found that the film production company was guilty of “plain indifference to the recognized hazards associated with the use of firearms on set that resulted in a fatality, severe injury, and unsafe working conditions.”

It further found that RMP claimed it would adhere to the Industry Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #1 “Recommendations for Safety with Firearms and Use of ‘Blank Ammunition’” but did not do so on the set of the film.

Some of the most egregious violations included not having daily safety meetings; bringing live ammunition onto the set; pointing a weapon at someone without appropriate preparation and consultations; leaving firearms unattended; loading firearms before a scene was to be shot. 


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