Safety Hotline

IATSE Safety

Safety is one of the pillars of the IATSE. The nature of IATSE members’ entertainment-industry jobs means working for many different employers, making a consistent expectation of safety a challenge. Through training, safety committees, safety programs, and participating in standards writing, the IATSE International leadership is committed to making the jobs members show up for daily as safe as possible. But there are other resources available to members: our Safety Hotline and our Safety App.

Safety Hotline

Members are encouraged to call the IATSE Safety Hotline whenever they feel unsafe on the job, for any reason. As the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) puts the responsibility of reporting hazards on the employers, and this program is not meant to take the place of an employer’s hazard reporting plan or to relieve an employer from their responsibility, the Safety Hotline is meant as a safety net for when the employers’ reporting plan breaks down.

When a member calls the Safety Hotline (Toll free: 844-IA AWARE, 844-422-9273), the caller can either leave a message or talk to a safety representative who will begin handling the issue. Depending on the circumstances, the safety representative will contact the Local’s representative and assist them with the issue, or call the employer directly.

Safety Info App

The IATSE Safety Info App is an information reference and hazard reporting tool for IATSE members. The application provides important safety information, such as studio safety hotline telephone numbers, industry-specific safety bulletins and articles, and a form for reporting hazards encountered on the worksite. The app currently offers English and French language options. Download is available for iPhone and Android.

You can customize the app to display handy information about your local and department. The Safety Bulletins section features dozens of topics, from Basic Safety Precautions to Dangerous Prop Guidelines and Vehicle Restraints.

The app features a persistent button along the bottom which, when pressed, will offer to dial the IATSE Safety Hotline for you.


Severe Weather


This bulletin identifies the safety considerations that should be addressed when
working outdoors in areas where there is a potential for thunderstorms, lightning,
flash flooding, extreme winds, large hail, tornados and hurricanes.


Pre-planning can reduce many of the potential dangers posed by inclement
weather. The location manager, his/her department representative or production
management, should develop an “action plan” when preparing to use locations that
may present an inclement or severe weather hazard.

The action plan should designate a person who is responsible for monitoring potential inclement weather by commercial weather services, television and radio station news casts, or other available means.

The action plan should include a method for communication with cast and crew
members in the event of inclement or severe weather. The communication methods
should reflect the conditions and circumstances at the scene. Other elements to include should be site specific procedures which include methods and routes of evacuation, meeting areas, a means of establishing a head count for cast and crew members and procedures for equipment shut-down, stowage and/or removal. If there is the possibility of inclement or severe weather, a “safety meeting” shall be held to review and communicate the elements of the action plan.

Specific hazards which may be addressed in the action plan:

Flash flooding is usually caused by slow moving thunderstorms and can occur
within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall. High risk locations include
low water crossings, recent burn areas in mountains and urban areas which have
pavement and roofs which concentrate rainfall runoff.
Flash flooding may be worsened by topography, soil conditions and ground
cover. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood
Realize it does not have to be raining at your specific location for a flood to occur.

Potential Hazards:

  • Crew and equipment could become trapped or stranded as escape routes
    may be damaged and/or blocked.
  • Equipment and personnel could be swept away or covered by water, mud or
  • Drowning
  • Electrocution
  • Mud slides

Possible Actions:

  • Activate the action plan.
  • Secure equipment and all electrical power.
  • Remove all cast and crew from elevated equipment, scaffolds, booms and
  • Stay clear of potential slide areas next to hillsides or on edges of cliff areas.
  • Follow directions for evacuation procedures as outlined in the action plan.
  • Gather at pre-determined evacuation point and ensure everyone is accounted
  • If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above ankles, STOP! Turn
    around and go another way.
  • Do not drive through moving water or a flooded roadway.
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an “all clear” signal has been given
    by a regulatory authority or production management.

Lightning results from the buildup and discharge of electrical energy in clouds.
Lightning may strike several miles from an associated thunderstorm and may
strike when no clouds or rain are present.

Potential Hazards:

  • Electrocution
  • Burns
  • Falling debris
  • Concussion
  • Fire

Possible Actions:

  • Activate the action plan
  • When working in lightning prone areas, the use of a lightning detector/meter
    is highly recommended. If a meter is not available, it is possible to estimate
    the distance of lightning by the thunder. When lightning is seen, count the
    seconds until thunder is heard and then divide the seconds counted by five to
    obtain the approximate distance in miles.
  • 30-30 rule: The first 30 means if you count to 30 seconds or less (from
    lightning to thunder), the lightning is within 6 miles of your location and you
    are in potential danger and should seek shelter. The second 30 means you
    should wait 30 minutes from the last flash or thunder to establish an “all
  • Seek shelter in a sturdy building, a hardtop automobile or truck with the
    windows rolled up. If such cover is not available seek shelter in wooded
    areas with thick small trees. Avoid isolated trees.
  • Avoid high ground and keep clear of tall objects, towers, aerial lifts, camera
    booms, scaffolding, fences or other metal equipment.
  • Avoid contact with any body of water.
  • Avoid using a telephone or cellular phone.
  • Where appropriate, shut down generators in accordance with the established
    action plan.
  • Avoid using other electrical equipment or appliances.
  • When instructed, move to the pre-determined evacuation area.
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an “all clear” signal has been given
    by a regulatory authority and/or production management or 30 minutes after
    the last thunder sound is heard.

High winds can be associated with extreme weather phenomenon including
thunderstorms, tornados, hurricanes, and high and low pressure systems. During
the summer months in the Western States, thunderstorms often produce little
rain but very strong wind gusts (some up to 100 mph) and dust storms.

Potential Hazards:

  • Flying debris
  • Dust
  • Possibility of persons being swept off their feet
  • Equipment can be blown over and carried for a distance
  • Set destruction
  • Eye injuries

Possible Actions:

  • Activate the action plan
  • Remove all cast and crew from elevated areas, sets, scaffolding and other
    high objects
  • Lower all aerial, lighting, diffusion, camera boom equipment and tents
  • Tie down and secure all loose equipment
  • When instructed, seek refuge from the winds at your pre-determined safe
  • Be aware and protect your eyes from potential injury
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an “all clear” signal has been given
    by a regulatory authority or production management

Hail is usually associated with thunderstorms and is caused by freezing rain that
can become very large.

Potential Hazards: May cause injuries to crew and damage to equipment

Possible Actions:

  • If a watch or warning has been issued, the action plan should be activated
    and the crew should follow all instructions
  • Secure and protect all equipment
  • Get down from elevated areas, aerial lifts, booms, scaffold and other high
  • When instructed, seek shelter at your pre-determined safe area
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an “all clear” signal has been given
    by a regulatory authority or production management

A storm accompanied by strong winds creating blizzard conditions with blinding
wind-driven snow, severe drifting and dangerous wind chill.

Potential Hazards:

  • Blinding conditions
  • Creation of snow drifts
  • Dangerous wind chill factor (refer to Safety Bulletin #34)
  • Avalanche danger, being caught and/or buried
    -Usually triggered by victim or members of victims party
    -Generally occur with clear skies, little or no snow fall and light or calm
    -The weak layer often consists of surface hoar, facets or depth hoar
    -On 30-40 degree slopes, often at a convex part of the slopePossible Actions:
  • If a watch or warning has been issued, the action plan should be activated
    and the crew should follow all instructions
  • Secure and protect all equipment
  • Get down from elevated areas, aerial lifts, booms, scaffold and other high
  • Stay clear from potential avalanche areas
  • When instructed, seek shelter at your pre-determined safe area
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an “all clear” signal has been given
    by a regulatory authority or production management

A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by twisting, funnel-shaped wind.
Tornados tend to occur in the afternoon and evening hours.
Potential Hazards:

  • Tornados are unpredictable and may form without warning
  • Winds can exceed 200 to 300 mph
  • Tornados may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up
    or a cloud forms within the funnel
  • Severe damage can occur to structures
  • The precise location of a touch down point cannot be determined

Possible Actions:

  • If a watch or warning has been issued, the action plan should be activated
  • The crew should be regularly updated regarding any changes to potential
    weather conditions
  • All cast and crew members must follow all instructions given
  • No employees should be working on elevated equipment. This includes
    aerial lifts, scaffolds, camera booms, and other high areas
  • Evacuate the area immediately if instructed by a regulatory authority or
    production management
  • Only secure equipment if there is time and it can be done safely
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an all clear signal has been given by
    a regulatory authority or production management

A slow developing tropical weather phenomenon that forms over water. Its
greatest impacts are felt near or on shorelines of land. You will not be surprised
by a hurricane, as they are usually tracked by a weather service for many days.
They are also known as cyclones or typhoons.

Potential Hazards:

  • Severe winds and rainfall, which may cause extreme flooding
  • Storm surges
  • High waves possibility of persons being swept off their feet
  • Drowning
  • Localized tornados
  • Extreme damage to structures, roads, utilities, vehicles and boats
  • Severe injury due to flying debris

Possible Actions:

  • In most cases, you will have several days warning to activate your action
  • Do not stay by shoreline
  • Pack and secure all equipment and remove to a safe area
  • Lower all aerial lifts, camera booms and other equipment. Remove to a
    safe area as time permits
  • If ordered to evacuate, leave area early — do not hesitate
  • Do not attempt to return to the area until an “all clear” signal has been
    given by a regulatory authority or production management


  • OSHA mandates that aerial lifts and other like equipment are not to be operated
    when winds exceed 25 mph.
  • Be aware that many of the same precautions (e.g., eye protection and securing
    equipment), can also apply to man-made wind effects such as rotor wash from
    airplanes or helicopters and large ritter fans.

Additionally, Local 491 has adopted the following guidelines are in effect for impending hurricanes.

  1. Hurricane Watch – A watch is issued when hurricane conditions can be expected within 36 hours.  Production should begin securing sets and property (especially boats), and to begin the evacuation of barrier islands.  Employees can be requested to assist in such preparation.  Production should begin considering cessation of filming and release of employees particularly “nearby” hires.
  2. Hurricane Warning – A warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 miles per hour are expected within 24 hours.  Production should have completed hurricane preparation by this time and should begin evacuation or seek safe shelter.  Production shall cease upon the announcement of a hurricane warning in the respective area and employees should be released during Hurricane Warning periods in order for them to take care of their property and families.

    (PLEASE NOTE:  If you have difficulty determining appropriate actions to storm threats please contact Studio Security or the Local 491 office for an assessment.)
  3. Post-Storm – Please be considerate of undue hardships encountered by employees and the Community when scheduling start-up after a storm event.

Safety Bulletins

The SAFETY BULLETINS are researched, written and distributed by the Industry Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee for use by the motion picture and television industry.  The Industry Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee is composed of Guild, Union, and Management representatives active in industry safety and health programs.

They are guidelines recommended by the Safety Committee.  They are not binding laws or regulations. State, federal, and/or local regulations, where applicable, override these guidelines. Modifications in these guidelines should be made, as circumstances warrant, to ensure the safety of the cast and crew.

The Committee and these SAFETY BULLETINS are representative of the commitment of both Labor and Management to safe practices in the motion picture and television industry.  The members of the Committee and all those who contributed to its work have devoted a great deal of time and effort to these guidelines because of the importance of safety to our industry.

All industry personnel have legal and moral responsibility for safety on the set or wherever they may be working.  These SAFETY BULLETINS may be reproduced and attached to Call Sheets or otherwise distributed to affected employees.

SAFETY BULLETINS are written or revised to meet new standards or situations.  Your questions or suggestions are invited. Safety is something in which we all have a share.


(818) 565-1656

To check for the most current documents, please visit the below link with Contract Services.

Safety Bulletins

Safety For Sarah

We expect our sets to be safe. But too often, people’s focus on safety can get lost in the collective rush to “get the shot” or “make the day”. No one plans this. It just happens.

When safety by the nature of moving fast and keeping up becomes secondary, it is left to all of us to look out not only for ourselves but for each other as well. Guidelines, memos, and classes are only effective if we put them into practice and it is our obligation to assure that everyone around us is doing so. We must be our own safety net because we are the only ones there in the moment. We need to be willing to speak up, speak loudly, and more importantly support others in doing so.

Because no one should ever die making a movie.

This is not about crews, or cast, or production, or us, or them. It’s about everyone on a production. Be safe and be aware. No exceptions. Safety is the responsibility we accept every time we step on a set and it only works if we all have each other’s backs – because no one wants to have to explain to a friend’s loved one why they didn’t speak up.

You have the power. We have the power. Together we have strength and together we can make sure that everyone gets home safely at the end of every day.

Stand Up. Speak up. Take the Pledge. Take it Now.

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