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Hollywood’s Safety Pass Training Program Turns 20

Thursday, 16 November 2023 08:00 AM

Contract Services

Unique Training Program Creates a Common Safety Framework for the Film & TV Production Workforce and Fosters a Culture of Safety on Set

BURBANK, CA / ACCESSWIRE / November 16, 2023 / Launched in November 2003, Hollywood's Safety Pass training program is celebrating 20 years of providing indispensable safety training for the film and television production workforce. Safety Pass training is provided to tens of thousands of production workers in Los Angeles and beyond, establishing a common baseline of safety expectations and training and helping to foster a culture of safety on set.

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Safety Pass training is required in more than 20 union contracts covering roughly 60,000 production workers in Southern California and is also available to employees working in other jurisdictions. Since launching 20 years ago, the program has provided more than 2.1 million hours of training to more than 100,000 motion picture employees across the United States. The training is developed by and delivered through Contract Services Administration Trust Fund, a nonprofit established in 1965 that administers programs for the motion picture and television industry.

Getting the Program Off the Ground

In the early 1980s, there was significant momentum to improve safety training in Hollywood, but providing consistent, high-quality training to a freelance workforce presented many logistical, financial and legal challenges. "There were fits and starts to getting a program off the ground, but ultimately, employers, unions and guilds agreed the only way to achieve this on an industry-wide basis was to require such training in the collective bargaining agreements," said Hank Lachmund, retired EVP of Industrial Relations at Warner Bros. "Contract Services, as a collaborative institution, was uniquely positioned to launch this industry-wide effort, which greatly expanded that organization's purview."

A Partnership Between Labor and Management

Over the past 20 years, Contract Services, the major studios and industry unions have engaged in a sustained partnership to grow the program.

"I applaud the leaders of the studios for recognizing the need to provide the best possible safety training to film and TV crew members, and union leadership for ensuring such training is available to their members and required as a condition of employment by collective bargaining agreements," said Jeff Egan, Senior Vice President, Feature Films Production Safety for NBC Universal, who was involved with production safety at the time of Safety Pass' creation. "This Studio-Union collaboration set a benchmark that so many other production communities worldwide have envied and smartly tried to emulate."

Tailored to the Motion Picture Industry While Meeting General Safety Standards

Safety Pass courses are specifically tailored to the motion picture industry. There were 21 courses when the program launched in 2003, but today there are more than 35 courses that cover a wide range of topics, including rigging safety, hazard communication, firearm safety, fall protection, workplace electrical safety, respiratory protection, noise exposure and many others. Most courses are available online, but some include hands-on training that takes place at Contract Services' campus in Burbank, California.

The courses also reinforce industry Safety Bulletins, which are guidelines created by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee. Contract Services and the Committee routinely consult with experts across a variety of fields, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, to ensure Safety Pass courses and Safety Bulletins conform to general safety standards and promote a safety-conscious work environment. "Once they came up with the curriculum, it was important to ensure the training matched the industry Safety Bulletins and dovetailed with the fire department regulations, which is where I came in," said Al Adams, former Chief of Fire Engineering and Investigation (Retired), Cal Fire Office of the State Fire Marshal, who helped align the program with government requirements. "It is a brilliant program and the first of its kind that I'm aware of."

Centralized Training for a Freelance Workforce

The Safety Pass program standardizes training for a freelance workforce of creative and technical professionals who will likely work for many different employers over their careers. Before Safety Pass, each studio provided training to its own production employees, which varied from employer to employer. Safety Pass was created to address this inefficiency and set a common, consistent standard for safety training across an entire industry. Today, Safety Pass serves as the foundation for additional on-set training that employers may provide during a given production. In addition to the roughly 60,000 production employees who complete Safety Pass training as a requirement of their collective bargaining agreements, eligible industry employers may purchase Safety Pass training for their employees who may not already have access to it.

Delivering COVID-19 Prevention Training During the Pandemic

Safety Pass became even more vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to its well-established infrastructure, Contract Services was able to quickly deploy a brand-new COVID-19 Prevention course to an entire industry, which was instrumental in getting the motion picture production industry back to work as quickly as possible.

Within days after the studios and unions negotiated their Return-to-Work Agreement in September 2020, Contract Services launched a brand-new COVID-19 Prevention course, which, for the first time, was available to all motion picture industry employers who found themselves suddenly facing a new training requirement in order to return to work. Since the course launched in October 2020, it's been completed by more than 100,000 employees and helped hundreds of employers comply with public health requirements.

About Contract Services

Contract Services is a nonprofit established in 1965 that administers programs for the motion picture and television industry, including the Industry Experience Roster, safety and harassment prevention training, and a DOT substance testing program for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. Contract Services also hosts the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, which publishes guidance in the form of Safety Bulletins. This year, Contract Services is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the widely recognized Safety Pass program that has trained more than 100,000 motion picture industry production workers in more than two million hours of safety training.

Contact Information

Todd Lindgren
Director of Communications
[email protected]

Related Images

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Contract Services Logo
This is the primary logo for Contract Services.
Safety Pass 20th Anniversary Logo
Safety Pass 20th Anniversary Logo
This is the logo recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Safety Pass Program.

SOURCE: Contract Services

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