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The Walking Dead production company gets maximum fine for stuntman’s accidental death

Contributed by
Jan 5, 2018

The company that produces AMC’s The Walking Dead has been hit with the maximum fine allowed under federal law in connection with the death of a stuntman from fall-related injuries sustained on a Georgia set in July of 2017.

OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, has fined Georgia-based Stalwart Films $12,675, after concluding its investigation into the death of 33-year-old stuntman John Bernecker.

Bernecker was removed from life support only days after falling more than 20 feet and hitting his head on a concrete floor during an Atlanta-area stunt rehearsal for The Walking Dead. He had been rehearsing a fight scene that was to culminate in a fall from a balcony onto a cushioning pad, but fell a short distance from the pad and hit his head on the hard floor.

Stalwart Films was cited for failing to do as much as OSHA investigators concluded it should have done to protect Bernecker from the fall-related injury.

In a statement, OSHA explained its conclusion. “OSHA issued a serious citation and proposed penalties totaling the maximum allowable fine of $12,675, for the company’s failure to provide adequate protection from fall hazards,” the statement reads. “OSHA investigated Stalwart’s filming location in Senoia after a stuntman was fatally injured after falling more than 20 feet."

An OSHA administrator also said in the statement that Bernecker’s death “should serve as a wake-up call for the entertainment industry,” and that the “entire industry needs to commit to safety practices for actors and stunt people involved in this type of work.”