Even though efforts to legislate mandatory condom use in California porn have failed repeatedly in recent years, that hasn't stopped the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) from making rules of its own.
See also: Porn's Condom Law Goes Down
The problem, as the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation sees it, is that it has been years since Cal/OSHA began the process of putting condom-use into its rule book. The AHF earlier this month, with the help of five former performers who are HIV-positive, protested the slow pace of regulation.
And, yesterday, as the industry was celebrating its AVN Awards nominations, the organization claimed victory:
The group said that, in a recent letter, Cal/OSHA has committed to expediting its regulations, with exact language expected "by the end of 2014," in the department's words.
It's not clear to us that this will be any faster than what the state authorities promised earlier: It won't be until March or April that mandatory public notice of a rule update will be given, after which the department can finally put the mandatory condom regulations into motion, according to the letter.
We reached out to Cal/OSHA officials but did not hear back immediately.
In any case, the AHF was happy. For the rules to be inked in December means that almost exactly five years after the organization petition to have Cal/OSHA address the matter, California will nearly have set it in stone.
Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation:
I am grateful that Cal/OSHA has committed in writing to have documents to their Standards Board by the end of the year that will clarify and strengthen worker safety laws on adult film sets in California, but I am also disappointed that it has taken five years to get here. During those five years, OSHA has had three different Chiefs heading the organization. More critically: in this same time span, there have been at least four cases of HIV identified in adult film performers found while they were working in the industry—one in 2010, and again last year, during the summer of 2013, when three adult performers were found to have HIV.
Cal/OSHA has noted previously that it really already considers condom use to be mandatory on adult sets in the state.
It interprets federal workplace law, which says employees should not be exposed to blood-borne pathogens, to mean that prophylactics are required in porn. In fact, it will investigate producers on a case-by-case basis. And it has fined some for failing to deploy condoms on-set.
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Still, the proposed regulations would put literally put condoms in the state workplace-safety rule book.
The industry has long been opposed to mandating condoms. Los Angeles city and county voters passed mandatory condom rules in recent years, prompting the number of adult production permits in town to plummet.
The porn business says that consumers don't want to see condoms, that its twice-a-month STD testing protocol for performers works, and that requiring prophylactics will only force production, worth billions of dollars in economic impact, underground and out-of-state.