The Walking Dead‘s production company has been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the death of a stuntman while filming an episode of the hit AMC drama.
OSHA announced on Friday that it had imposed on Stalwart Films a $12,675 fine — the maximum allowable for a single citation in the “serious” category — for “failure to provide adequate protection from fall hazards.” John Bernecker, 33, died in July at an Atlanta hospital after falling more than 20 feet onto a concrete floor during a fight scene on the show’s Senoia, Ga., set.
“This tragedy should serve as a wake-up call for the entertainment industry,” said OSHA Atlanta Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in a statement. “The entire industry needs to commit to safety practices for actors and stunt people involved in this type of work.”
Stalwart Films has 15 business days to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before an independent commission.
UPDATE: Stalwart Films has issued the following statement: “This was a tragic and terrible accident. We take the safety of our employees extremely seriously on all of our sets and comply with – and frequently exceed – industry safety standards. We disagree with the issuance of this citation and are considering our response.”
Production on season 8 of The Walking Dead was shut down for several days following Bernecker’s death, with cast members offering condolences on social media. Executive producer Scott M. Gimple opened the show’s panel at Comic-Con with a tribute to the stuntman, whose credits include Hunger Games, 22 Jump Street, Get Out, Logan, and Black Panther. “John passed away this week after he was injured doing something he loved — helping tell stories that excite, entertain, and give people escape,” he said. “John was someone beloved in the stunt community, someone who trained other people and helped them break into the business. He was living his dream, and he helped other people do the same thing.”