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It was reported today that New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau issued the maximum possible fine against the “Rust” film production company for firearms safety failures on the set of the movie where actor and producer Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Following the move, Baldwin issued a statement from his attorney, asserting that the safety investigation “exonerates Mr. Baldwin.”
New Mexico’s workplace safety regulators said Rust Movie Productions must pay $136,793 and documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded.
Weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training as they distributed a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols.
The regulators also included testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set prior to the fatal shooting.
Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety, told The Associated Press, “What we had, based on our investigators’ findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management’s failure to act upon those obvious hazards.”
“Our investigation found that this tragic incident never would have happened if Rust Movie Productions, LLC had followed national film industry standards for firearm safety,” state environment official James Kenney said.
Kenney added, “This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”
Through a spokesperson, Rust Movie Productions said that it would dispute the findings and sanction.
Stefan Friedman said, “While we appreciate OSHA’s time and effort in its investigation, we disagree with its findings and plan to appeal.”
Any appeal would be heard initially by the state’s occupational health and safety commission, the AP noted.