479 NEWS

Lightning Safety for Movie Crews

IATSE Local 479 Summer Safety Series: with the arrival of Summer people who work outdoors face a number of additional health safety dangers, from weather extremes to risk of disease. The Contract Services Administration Trust Fund (CSATF) provides an extensive library of safety bulletin on a wide variety of topics, including inclement weather.

One unique aspect of the film industry is the ever-changing nature of the workplace; some days crews may find themselves working on a sound stage under controlled conditions, while other days they’re at an exterior location, completely at the mercy of mother nature. Exterior locations can prove dangerous for any number of reasons, but in the summer (in the south) one very prominent danger comes from the sky: lightning strikes.

Potential hazards associated with lightning include electrocution, burns, falling debris, concussion, and fire. Every year the United States experiences more than 20 million cloud to ground lightning strikes, with more than 300 people falling victim to (more…)

Tick Safety for Movie Crews

Close-up of a tick's mouth parts, photo by Richard Bartz

IATSE Local 479 Summer Safety Series: with the arrival of Summer people who work outdoors face a number of additional health safety dangers, from weather extremes to risk of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides extensive information on tick avoidance, removal, disease symptoms and more.

What Is a Tick?

Ticks are small 8-legged arachnids that have been around since the time of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Unlike spiders, ticks feed on the blood of larger creatures like mammals, birds, and movie crews.

Since the southeast is home to the majority of disease-bearing ticks it’s important for movie crews to follow a few basic safety procedures to avoid disease or death from these tiny creatures.

Ticks & The Diseases They Carry

The effects of tick bites can range from chills and fever, to ulcerated skin and swollen glands, to palsy, heart palpitations, even memory issues. A recently discovered allergic reaction to bites from the Lone Star Tick has left many people unable to consume meat. Understanding the threat that ticks present has been shown to increase preventative measures by people at risk, so let’s review the types of ticks you may encounter while working in our jurisdiction.


American Dog Tick


Blacklegged Tick


Brown Dog Tick


Gulf Coast Tick


Lone Star Tick


Avoid Ticks

The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid the places they inhabit, which are typically areas with heavy foliage or high grasses. If you must work in these environments try to stay to the center of trails and away from wooded and brushy areas with high grass and/or leaf litter. Be aware that ticks may also be transmitted to you via gear, other people, and pets that have been exposed to these environments.


Tick Check!

There are some simple techniques you should practice when returning home from exterior sets likely to contain ticks. Young ticks may be small, so be diligent in each of these procedures.

Clothes – look through your clothes for ticks then tumble dry on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill ticks. Use hot water when washing potentially compromised clothing, as cold or medium heat will not kill ticks.

Shower – taking a shower within 2 hours of returning from outdoors has been shown to reduce the risk of Lyme disease, as unattached ticks may be washed off.

Visual Check – use a hand mirror to inspect your entire body, from head to toe, paying special attention to areas where ticks could hide between folds of skin, such as under your arms, inside your naval, behind your knees, and around your groin.


Tick Repellant

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of repellants useful in protecting people against tick bites. Be sure to consult the cautions and warnings for use of these products on children.

You can purchase a product called Permethrin to treat clothes and shoes to discourage ticks from attaching themselves to you in the first place. Follow the directions for proper application and re-application.


Tick Removal

How to remove a tick using tweezers

If you discover a tick attached to your skin don’t panic. Removal is fast and painless. The most important step is to remove the tick as soon as possible. Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick’s body as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Use firm pressure to lift straight up without twisting. If the mouth parts break off below the skin’s surface don’t attempt to remove them. Instead, clean the area and allow the skin to heal.

Home remedies like covering the tick in petroleum jelly or holding a glowing match next to the tick are not recommended, as they have been shown to be ineffective and delay the removal of the tick from your body.

Monitor yourself for the next few weeks to see if you experience any of the symptoms affiliated with tick-bourne illnesses. If you do, contact your doctor and inform them about the date of the tick bite and the symptoms you’re experiencing.




Tickbourne Diseases of the United States; an online reference for healthcare providers

Provided by: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



More people developing red meat allergy from tick bites

Provided by: CBS News




Provided by: Wikipedia









IATSE Safety App Now Available

The IATSE Safety Info App is an information reference and hazard reporting tool for IATSE members. The application provides important safety information, such as studio safety hotline telephone numbers, industry-specific safety bulletins and articles, and a form for reporting hazards encountered on the worksite. (Download links are available at the end of this article) (more…)

Local Holds First A & A2 Live Training Trust Event

Time is running out for a special opportunity to take the A and A2 training classes at Local 479 with assistance and direct oversight from the Local 479 Education Team and a representative of the IATSE Training Trust Fund (TTF). This event will allow you to register, enroll & complete your online courses all in one day.  Feel free to drop by anytime to register & enroll in the courses. An IATSE TTF representative will have your (more…)

Hurricane Irma Safety Bulletins

Below are links for various Safety Bulletins provided to Local 479 from the IATSE Safety Committee Chairman.  As Hurricane Irma continues to head in our direction, please continue to stay informed of its potential impact on our area.  Your safety is of the utmost importance.

A list of bulletins that should be helpful:

#15 – Boating/Water Safety
#17 – Water Hazards
#31 – Indigenous Critters
#35 – Prevention of Heat Illness
#38 – Severe Weather

The website for The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides guidelines for employers and workers if there is a potential emergency that would cause them to have to evacuate or shelter in place (OSHA Evacuation or Shelter in Place).

OSHA Lightning Safety



Faced with Life or Death on Set: When Seconds Count

A film set.

It was a typical late June afternoon in Riverchase, a bustling community in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover. With temperatures climbing steadily toward the nineties, traces of future storm clouds began to dot the far horizon.

A group of trucks were parked just outside the Rooms To Go store on Chapel Lane and a steady stream of people had been ferrying equipment in and out of the building all morning long, the telltale indication of an active commercial shoot.

A number of the shooting crew from Atlanta had arrived in town the previous night and the Key Grip, Roger Sherer, was animatedly telling his friends about a local restaurant he’d found that featured great food and live music. A musician himself, Roger wanted to get a group together and (more…)

Online Safety Training Now Available

Director of Education Kevin Amick wants to remind members that they are eligible to take the first two modules offered under the Safety Pass system:

A and A2 Safety Pass courses are now online and ready for your application. This training is provided to you at no charge and upon completion you will receive a Safety Pass Card for these courses. Just follow the directions and submit your application today.
– Kevin Amick


Sign up today at www.iatsetrainingtrust.org/asa


Course Descriptions


This course explains safety orientation, employee/employer rights and responsibilities, hazard communications, use of personal protection equipment, proper lifting techniques, emergency action procedures, and general production safety procedures. The course takes an average of one hour to complete. You do not have to complete the class all at once.



This course covers a wide range of subjects, including studio lot & location safety, heat illness, severe weather, disaster/emergency response, environmental awareness, transportation of dangerous goods, electrical safety, and workplace cleanliness. The course takes an average of three hours to complete. You do not have to complete the class all at once.



The Safety Pass Program was conceived by the Motion Picture and Television Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee as a means of addressing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) requirements that employees be trained (and the training documented) in the safe use of equipment and work practices on their job. Because of the freelance nature of many motion picture and television assignments, the Safety Pass Program provides valuable assistance in meeting the training needs of the Industry by (more…)

Heartsaver CPR-AED Course

Local 479’s Education Department urges all its members to sign up for the Heartsaver CPR/AED Training Course, which is offered on a frequent basis. Emergencies are never (more…)

Aerial Work Platform Training


Motion picture and television production often entails the use of mechanical equipment designed to provide access to inaccessible areas, often elevated above the ground. Widely used by a variety of variety of departments, these Aerial Work Platforms (AWP) can be dangerous if used improperly and the IATSE Local 479 Education Department strongly encourages its members to complete this course to foster greater safety in the (more…)

IATSE Launches Safety Hotline Program


In mid-June the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees launched its safety hotline program for members to report hazards on the job.  The nature of IATSE members’ entertainment-industry jobs means working for many different employers. As the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) puts the responsibility of reporting hazards on the employers, the IATSE Safety Hotline is meant as a safety net for when the (more…)