Paul Morris: Calif. Leads Nation In Workplace Deaths & Cal/OSHA Is Watching Porn

Apr 17, 2013
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In February, Cal/OSHA held two days of hearings on its action against Treasure Island Media (TIM), a leading gay porn producer based in San Francisco. The action is based on a three-year-old third party complaint filed by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and concerns not only condomless anal sex, but even oral sex without condoms, as well as ‘rimming’ (described in the transcript as ‘analingus’).

The February hearing dates were notable both for the slow, plodding pace at which Cal/OSHA presented its case, and for the cozy personal relationship between Cal/OSHA officials and observers from AHF. According to attorney Karen Tynan, “it was clear that AHF and the Cal/OSHA personnel were thick as thieves, whispering in the corner and practically canoodling during lunch.”

On April 23-24, the trial will resume in Oakland with TIM presenting its case — asserting that Cal/OSHA lacks jurisdiction because 1) the models are not employees, and 2) the movie in question was not shot in California — and TRPWL will provide complete coverage.

Paul Morris: Calif. Leads Nation In Workplace Deaths & Cal/OSHA Is Watching Porn

The following commentary is by TIM founder Paul Morris…


Across the board, in all industries in the state, the very real dangers to employees are steadily on the increase. And due to inadequate funding and a paucity of inspectors, the state agency given workplace safety as its mandate cries out and complains that they can’t help.

That agency, Cal-osha, is busy watching porn.

The actual dangers to employees in the workplace in California have been steadily on the increase. But the agency given the mandate to prevent this is watching porn.

In California in 2012 human beings have been literally cooked to death on the job, they have had their scalps torn off by machines on the job, they have had legs severed on the job, been crushed to death on the job, burned to death on the job, fallen to their death, been sliced in half by industrial die-cutting machines

But at Cal-osha, their staff and legal teams are watching porn.

Horrific deaths and maimings occur in growing numbers, while on-site deaths in confined workspaces–including those in Silicon Valley–due to asphyxiation and poisoning are occurring in higher and higher numbers.

But Cal-osha is watching porn. Not just my porn, mind you. They’re watching a lot of porn. That takes a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of resources. A lot of kleenex.

An estimated 6,500 workers in California die each year from chemical exposure.

No, I didn’t get that number wrong. My finger didn’t slip on the keyboard: 6,500 workers a year in California. Trust me: I got the stat from Cal-osha. At least they’re counting. (appendix A, page 3)

6,500 worker deaths a year from chemical exposure alone.

In porn, 0 worker deaths. That’s zero. As in, not a single one

I guess I can’t blame Cal-osha. Watching porn is a fun way to spend time. Devoting yourself to watching porn is a great way to pretend you’re monitoring an industry that has a record of zero fatalities, nearly no accidents, very little danger at all. It’s like monitoring skateboarding. Or surfing. Much more fun than dealing with actual tragedies.

All over California, workplace violence and killings are radically rising in numbers. As of 2010, on-site violence accounted for 26% of work-related fatalities. Again, the numbers are from osha. Trust them: they can count deaths once they’ve happened.

On-site violence in porn: 0%. Fatalities from porn violence, 0. (appendix A, page 20)

Watching porn is, I’m sure, far more relaxing than figuring out how to keep men in tuna packing plants from being slowly and horrifyingly cooked alive. Watching porn is easier than making sure that non-English speaking employees in factories don’t have their scalps ripped off because they can’t read the warning signs. There’s no blood or gore or horror or human tragedy in porn. Porn has no sliced tendons, no maimings, no broken necks. No widows. No orphans.

The most consistently dangerous occupations in California–each having significant numbers of annual fatalities–are fishing, logging, farming, mining, construction, garbage collection, trucking, warehouse work and police work. Porn isn’t even on the list. If you added up all the fuck-ups and errors and slippages and rug-burns in all the porn made all around the world, it still wouldn’t make the list of dangerous jobs.

Even the staid financial sector–the world of suits and Italian shoes and lots of greenback–is more dangerous than porn. Way more. In fact, around 7% of job-related fatalities happen in finance annually. (appendix A, page 6)

Finance: 7% of California job-related fatalities.

Porn: 0%

But Cal-osha, their staff and legal teams are watching porn. In a time of shrinking public funds, a time when public officials and employees really shouldn’t be rewarded for wasting time, wasting their training and wasting the tax-payer’s bucks…Cal-osha watches porn.

Did I mention the non-English speaking employees who died being baled like cardboard for recycling in massive baling machines?

Have I mentioned human trafficking and slavery in California (children and adults in the thousands being worked to death in the Golden State)?

Did I mention pregnant 17 year old Maria Jimenez who was literally worked to death on a farm in the Central Valley after Cal-osha failed to inspect her work-site even after repeated pleas for help had been filed with them? (appendix A, page 15)

It’s real good that Cal-osha is watching, investigating, studying pornography as much as they are these days. It’s good that they’re using their limited resources to obsess on an industry that doesn’t even make the list when it comes to dangers or fatalities. It’s real good that Cal-osha is giving their resources to porn when, as they themselves point out, given the number of workplaces in California and the number of Cal-osha workers, it would take them 158 YEARS to do even a one-visit, cursory inspection of every business. (appendix A, page 26)

And all this taking place in the state which is ranked dead last–50th out of 50–as the worst-run state in the Union

I really can sympathize with Cal-osha and their obsession these days with pornography. It must take their mind off the work they should be doing for the people of California who pay them and need them so desperately. Perhaps the fantasy world of porn can help them forget all the Californians who are injured, maimed and killed on their watch. We can learn a great deal from California and Cal-osha concerning the wisdom of resource management.

Paul Morris’s Blog

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