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Does workers' compensation cover workplace injury on a film set?

Workers in the film industry -- actors and actresses, dancers, stunt drivers, set workers and others -- face multiple safety risks while working on productions. However, the Occupational Health and Safety laws are not always clear on the status of workers. In British Columbia, some performers are regarded as employees, while others may be classified as independent operators. For this reason, a person who earns income in the entertainment industry will not be automatically eligible for workers' compensation benefits in the event of a workplace injury.

A stunt driver died during the filming of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver in August. The woman had to ride a motorcycle from inside a building, across a concrete area and then stop on a landing after crossing a ramp that covered a few stairs and led down to the landing. For reasons still under investigation, the motorcycle continued down more stairs, across a street and then struck a curb. The stuntwoman was ejected and thrown through an office building's plate-glass window, where she died.

Although OHS compliance officers responded to the movie set immediately, the investigation into this tragedy is still ongoing. The investigators will focus on violations of prescribed safety regulations, and penalties may be issued upon completion of the inquiry. However, safety regulations for this industry are not as clear-cut as those for other occupations.

A British Columbia employee in the entertainment industry who suffered a workplace injury -- or the surviving family members of a deceased worker -- can consult with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer. A legal representative can determine eligibility for insurance benefits. Whether the claim for compensation is pursued through the workers' compensation system, or by filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the lawyer can provide valuable support and guidance, focused on recovering medical and/or end-of-life expenses along with compensation for lost income.

Source: cos-mag.com, "OHS in the spotlight in entertainment industry", Linda Johnson, Accessed on Dec. 15, 2017

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