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IATSE forms safety panel

The industry’s largest below-the-line union will form a committee to address safety concerns in the entertainment business.

The Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said in an announcement that the idea for the committee grew out of an accident at Radio City Music Hall in 1995.

Dennis Larkin, former president of Stage Employees Local 1, was left a quadriplegic by the accident. He will co-chair the committee with Leo Gallenstein, a longtime member of Stage Employees Local 22 and a staffer at the Kennedy Center, who has become an expert on safety concerns for stage personnel. They will work in conjunction with IA representative Karen Pizzuto.

Some of the IA locals on the West Coast also are targeting the problem of long hours following the death of second assistant cameraman Brent Hershman. He was killed in a car accident in March after working a 19-hour day on the set of New Line’s “Pleasantville.”

The IA committee will develop safety guidelines, which will be posted on the IA’s Web site and in its magazine. The committee also will develop bargaining proposals for locals in the area of safety, as well as education resources for the membership.

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