(NEW YORK) — The New Mexico Environment Department filed an administrative complaint against Rust Movie Productions, after the production company had contested citations issued in April alleging hazards on the set that may have led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the “Rust” movie set last October.
The contested citations also included a fine of $136,793, making for the highest level of citation and maximum fine allowable by law in New Mexico.
Hutchins died and the film’s director, Joel Souza, was hospitalized after a gun held by Alec Baldwin as a prop fired a live round.
NMED issued the citations following a six-month investigation into workplace safety conditions after the shooting. During its investigation, NMED conducted interviews with 14 employees, requested information and documentation from Rust Movie Productions, and communicated with the production company via email to address the work-related fatality and injury.
Rust Movie Productions then contested the citations in May and an informal administrative review was started.
NMED and the production company were unable to reach a settlement of the citations during a 90-day administrative review period. NMED was then required to file a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission.
Rust Movie Productions now has 15 days to submit a response with the commission, before it schedules a hearing.
When it issued the citations, the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau called Hutchins’ death “avoidable.”
The administrative complaint alleges that Rust Movie Productions did not create a workplace free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause “death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to being struck by discharged rounds or projectiles when firearms were used on the set of the motion picture production.”
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