A report on the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust found that the production company “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set” and “demonstrated open indifference to staff safety.”
ust Movie Productions was fined US$136,793 (£104,810), the maximum allowable under New Mexico state law, after a six-month investigation by the state’s Environmental Protection Agency.
Ms Hutchins was killed on the set of the Western film in October last year after a prop-gun actor held by Alec Baldwin was fired.
Director Joel Souza was also injured while filming at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe.
The report concluded that the company “showed clear indifference to the recognized dangers associated with the use of firearms on set, resulting in deaths, serious injuries and unsafe working conditions.”
It also found that while the film industry has “clear national guidelines” for firearm safety, Rust Movie Productions “has not followed those guidelines or taken other effective measures to protect workers.”
The guidelines require that live ammunition “shall never be used or brought onto a studio lot or stage” and that safety briefings be held every day when firearms are being handled.
They also require staff to “refrain from pointing a firearm at anyone” except after consulting senior figures such as the gunsmith.
However, the report concludes: “Failure to follow these practices resulted in avoidable loss of life.”
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The Hollywood actor continues to fight a number of court cases stemming from the incident.
Cases are brought by script director Mamie Mitchell, lighting director Serge Svetnoy and Ms Hutchins’ family.
Environment Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said: “Our investigation concluded that this tragic incident would never have happened had Rust Movie Productions, LLC followed the motion picture industry’s national standards for firearm safety.
“This is a total failure by the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep workers safe.
“Employees should raise unsafe working conditions or report us anonymously.”
Robert Genoway, chief of the Occupational Health and Safety Office of the New Mexico Department of Environment, said, “As a reminder, it is illegal for any employer to retaliate against an employee who alleges a workplace safety violation.”
The bureau said the investigation took 1,560 hours of staff time, 14 interviews and the review of 566 documents.
In January, Baldwin turned over his mobile phone to authorities as part of the investigation.
Following the shooting, production on Rust was indefinitely suspended while authorities investigated.
In his first interview after the incident, Baldwin told Good Morning America he dreams about the incident “always” and added, “I don’t give a shit about my career.”
He also said he cocked the gun that killed Hutchins but “didn’t pull the trigger.”
In February, Baldwin was in the UK filming plane disaster thriller 97 Minutes.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/rust-production-company-fined-after-report-finds-plain-indifference-to-safety-41571207.html Rust production company fined after report found ‘simple indifference to safety’