Rust Movie Productions Issued a “Voluntary” Citation for Halyna Hutchins’ On-Set Death
The citation includes a civil penalty of $136,793.
On Wednesday, Rust Movie Productions received a “deliberate” citation, including a $136,793 fine, for failures that led to the “preventable death” of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in last October. This is the highest citation level and the maximum fine allowed by state law in New Mexico.
“Rust Movie Productions, LLC has been cited for its blatant disregard for the recognized dangers associated with the use of firearms on set, which have resulted in death, serious injury and unsafe working conditions,” said the New Mexico Department of the Environment Office of Occupational Health and Safety. in a press release.
Hutchins died and the film’s director was hospitalized after a gun held by Alec Baldwin while a prop fired a live bullet on the set of “Rust.”
The OHSB released the results of an inquest into Hutchins’ death last October, concluding that “management was aware that gun safety procedures were not being followed on set and exercised blatant disregard for employee safety by failing to review work practices and take corrective action.”
The OHSB said the film’s production team failed to follow industry-wide safety guidelines. According to the guidelines, ammunition should never be brought into a studio or stage; safety meetings must take place every day when firearms are handled; and employees must “refrain from pointing a firearm at anyone” except after consulting with the property master, gunsmith, or other security representative, such as the first assistant manager.
By failing to follow these practices, preventable loss of life has occurred, the OHSB said.
“Our investigation has determined that this tragic incident would never have happened had Rust Movie Productions, LLC followed national film industry standards for gun safety,” the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment said. of New Mexico, James Kenney, in a statement. “This is a complete failure by the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”
Rust Movie Productions has 15 business days to pay the penalty and provide OHSB with a corrective action certificate or contest the citation with the Occupational Health and Safety Review Board, which it plans to To do.
“While we appreciate OSHA’s time and effort in its investigation, we disagree with its findings and plan to appeal. Our thoughts and prayers are with Halyna’s family,” said Stefan Friedman. , a representative for Rust Movie Productions in a statement.
An attorney for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the gunsmith on the set of “Rust,” said she’s been in touch with OSHA to make changes and improvements to on-set safety standards.
“OSHA found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not given sufficient time or resources to perform her job effectively, despite her expressed concerns. Critically, OSHA also determined that the production did not call Hannah to perform his duties as a gunsmith and inspect the firearm just prior to its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin,” attorney Todd Bullion said in a statement.
He added: “As we’ve said before, if someone from the production had called Hannah back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been averted.”
Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in February against a number of parties, including Baldwin and the film’s production, alleging that reckless behavior and cost-cutting led to Hutchins’ death.
“Any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false. He, Halyna and the rest of the crew relied on the statement of the two professionals in charge of checking the weapon that it was a ‘cold weapon’ – which means there is no possibility of a discharge, blank or otherwise,” Aaron Dyer, a lawyer for Baldwin, said in response to the lawsuit.