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Los Angeles crash leads to questions about workers' safety

On Feb. 10, a helicopter crashed in Los Angeles County at the Polsa Rosa Ranch, killing three people. This helicopter was a working on the production of a new reality television show for the Discovery Network. The Polsa Rosa Ranch is popular site for filming of all kinds. The accident has led some in the entertainment community to question whether employment laws are doing enough to protect those working on reality television programs.

Over the last decade, reality television has become one of the most popular genres on television. On reality television shows people do everything from risk their lives in exotic locations, lose extreme amounts of weight and sing and dance. However, what many people may not realize is that those who work on these shows may actually be exposed to hazardous working conditions.

Some reality television insiders claim that the riskier the show the higher the ratings. Therefore, some producers are taking too much risk and exposing employees to unsafe conditions while encouraging reckless behavior. Furthermore, some claim that tight budgets on these shows often don't allow for proper safety precautions. Finally, industry insiders claim that many employees on reality television shows are afraid to report unsafe conditions out of fear of being blacklisted from future productions.

Every California employee, including those working on reality television programs, has the right to be safe at work. Just like there are laws providing adequate pay and benefits to workers, there are also laws ensuring safe working conditions. When these laws are broken, employees have the right to complain about these violations without fear of retaliation. In order to prevent accidents and injuries, employees who are subjected to unsafe working conditions should explore their legal rights.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Helicopter crash puts spotlight on safety of reality TV shows," Richard Verrier, Feb. 10, 2013

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