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California may hike ENG training standards

California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will look into raising training levels and increase warnings of the dangers related to electronic newsgathering trucks, but appears unlikely to mandate extensive equipment changes, attendees of an ad hoc safety advisory committee meeting last week told B&C.

AFTRA's Leslie Simon said that the committee will recommend to the standards board many of its proposals for safety improvements. Simons said that she hopes training will apply not only for the reporters and crews who gather news, but also for assignment editors, producers and supervisors, for better understanding of conditions in the field.

The state is not pursuing new standards that would require two-person crews in the field, deferring, it said, to the bargaining process.

Massachusetts-based safety consultant Mark Bell said the meeting was - at best - a broad declaration by the state to the industry that it's watching the safety procedures they follow. Bell said the meeting reinforced existing enforcement standards, particularly those for which KABC-TV was fined, in an accident that caused serious injuries to reporter Adrienne Alpert last year: inadequate warning signs, violating minimum clearances regarding high voltage lines, and inadequate training.
- Dan Trigoboff