New Mexico Safety Bureau Files Administrative Complaint Against Producers Of ‘Rust’ Seeking Enforcement Of Fine For Unsafe Working Conditions

The New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau filed an administrative complaint today against Rust Movie Productions after the company contested the Bureau’s findings that unsafe working conditions on the set of the ill-fated Rust movie production had led to the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza on October 21.

In April, following its six-month investigation into the shooting, the Bureau fined the company $136,793 for its “willful and serious” violation of workplace safety procedures, which was the maximum allowable. The company, which disputed the claim, filed a Notice of Contest, which was received by the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission on May 10. On August 3, the Department filed a motion for an extension of the deadline to file its administrative complaint seeking enforcement of its fine, and on August 4, the Commission granted the extension.

In its administrative complaint, filed on Tuesday, the Department said that it “respectfully requests” the Commission to affirm its citation and that the Commission assess a penalty against the company in the amount of $136,793 “for the affirmed violations of the applicable regulations.”

See the full administrative complaint here.

In a statement, the New Mexico Environment Department said that it was “unable to reach a settlement of the citations” with the company during a 90-day administrative review period following the contest, requiring [NMED] to file the complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission. Rust Movie Productions has 15 days following service of the complaint to file their response to NMED’s complaint with the Commission. Upon receipt of the complaint and response from Rust Movie Productions, the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission will schedule a hearing. No additional information will be released at this time, pending completion of the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission’s hearing process.”

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