Hollywood loves New Mexico. For decades, studios – attracted by the state’s blue skies, terrain and sunshine – have boosted the state’s economy in sending crews here to work on a number of films and television shows including “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Muppet Movie,” “The Avengers” and “Breaking Bad.”
For a moment, though, get the stars out of your eyes. Remember that it takes great dedication to create such potential blockbusters. That’s why studios must rely on crews consisting of hundreds of people. While actors and directors receive a great amount of the prestige, it takes a collaborative effort from the likes of camera operators, construction crews and stunt performers to accomplish a studio’s goals.
Like many jobs, film crew workers are susceptible to workplace injuries. Each year, many people who work in front of the camera and behind the camera break bones, sustain burns, receive life-altering injuries and even die. A number of common movie set accidents include car wrecks, falling debris or equipment, falls from ladders and scaffolding, along with slips and falls from off-camera clutter.
Fall-related injuries and their numbers
Here are some fall-related statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- An estimated 20 percent of all falls result in serious injuries including broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year, more than 800,000 people are hospitalized due to a fall injury. Most of them are related to a head injury or hip fracture.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
- Broken bones including wrist, arm, ankle and hip fractures are common injuries from falls.
On-set accidents will happen, but the key is to anticipate them in order to prevent them. At the same time, studios should do their utmost toward improving safety at film locations. If you’re lucky enough to land a job working on a film, please remember that there will be long hours, you may become fatigued, but always be on alert for safety and be aware of your surroundings.