'Midnight Rider': Sarah Jones' Family Lawyer Praises OSHA's Safety Violation Finding
The lawyers for the family of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant killed in February on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, commended the government's finding of a serious safety violation. On Thursday, Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced its finding that the production company Film Allman exposed employees to grave "struck-by and fall hazards."
"While we have yet to see the full report, OSHA's findings confirm that Sarah's death was avoidable if common sense safety precautions and actions had been followed. It also confirms that safety was not the first priority on the set of Midnight Rider and that willful ignorance put Sarah — and others — at risk," Jones' family lawyer Jeffrey R. Harris said in a Friday statement. "We will continue the investigation into this tragedy and will hold all parties responsible for their actions or lack thereof. Sarah's family is determined her death will not be in vain and that safety will be top priority for all involved in the film industry."
Film Allman was fined $74,900 and has 15 business days to contest OSHA's findings.
"Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers' health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety, in the Thursday statement. "It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle."
Jones was fatally struck by a train, and eight other workers were injured on the February shoot, prompting local and national investigations. The film's director, Randall Miller, and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. The producers are also facing civil suits, including one filed by Harris on behalf of Jones' parents.