A Pledge to Sarah

The App

Why should I call a safety hotline. Nothing is going to happen if I do.

We are the first to admit that the safety hotlines aren’t perfect, but if people don’t call, there’s nothing to talk about. Having said that we have personally seen calls yield tangible results. If something is unsafe on your set then action needs to be taken. Please, for your safety and everyone around you, call the hotlines. Beyond alerting them of an issue, your call creates the beginnings of a legal trail and there is power in that. Besides, since you can remain anonymous by using the red phone icon to call, there’s nothing to lose.

If you make a call to the hotline and no action is taken, please call your union or guild and let them know. The hotlines will only improve if they are being used and providing feedback will only make them better. Then email us at feedback@pledgetosarah.org and let us know. Share your stories, both good and bad. We want to hear them. We will do everything we can to fix any and all pervasive problems within the hotline system.

The phone numbers are already readily available. Isn't this app redundant?

While this information does exist, it was not available in a readily accessible form like an app. We simply took existing information and put it at the touch of a finger. Our hope is that it will be used more frequently and thus reduce accidents. If the app is right for you, use it and share it. If it isn't, simply put the safety hotlines in your phone and use them if necessary. The important thing is that people speak up about safety issues, not how they do it.

Why haven’t the unions done something like this?

Actually, several of the unions are currently working on apps of their own. We feel the Pledge To Sarah app transcends any one union local or guild and is there for everyone in the industry whether IATSE, SAG, DGA, and beyond. Even non-union workers can utilize the safety bulletins, so it’s not just the members of a specific union or guild who will feel it is useful.

Set safety and excessive hours are two separate issues. Why are they together in one app?

We feel that they are both a set safety issue. It has been scientifically proven that fatigue impairs decision-making. If you are working excessive hours then it is more likely you won't make good decisions while doing your job. Poor decision-making can lead to accidents, both on set and on the way home.

What is the point of sharing my timecard?

Some of the union locals have asked their members to report long hours but until now there hasn't been a simple way to do this. By providing us with your timecard, you can help the unions gather information they can then use to fight excessive hours. Saying the crew is being worked long hours is one thing, but sitting at a bargaining table and showing actual proof of these hours is an entirely different discussion. This anecdotal information will give our unions and guilds more power to fight for our safety.

This sounds like it’s anti-production since they are the ones always pushing for things to move faster. Is it?

Absolutely not. It’s not anti anything. It’s pro-speaking up. No one in production wants to see anyone get hurt on set. While it’s true that budgets are shrinking and crews are working faster and faster, no one feels that safety should suffer as a result. No one wants to have to make that call home after an accident, but sometimes we need to be reminded of that. This pledge is for everyone, from the newest PA to the highest paid actor and everyone in between.

What will you do with all the timecard information?

As the copies of the timecards come in, we will pass them on to the unions and guilds that have requested them, just as you sent them to us. We will pass on the original jpegs and nothing else so none of your information will be attached and the information you have redacted cannot be retrieved.

Am I in violation of my contract by sharing my timecard?

Absolutely not. Many contracts have wording that speaks about sharing information in public forums and on social media. Sending these to us personally does not contradict this agreement. Beyond that, no information of yours beyond what you agree upon will be shared so there is no way for someone to know who submitted a time card if you choose to redact your personal information.

I'm not tired after working consecutive 15 hour days. What's the big deal?

Studies have shown that from a genetic standpoint, different people need different amounts of sleep. So while you may not feel exhausted the person next to you might be beyond exhausted. There is no reason that we can't accomplish what needs to be accomplished on a given work day in 12 or fewer hours. Beyond that, scientific sleep studies indicate that no one is impervious to a lack of sleep and that each of us can experience “micro-sleep”, 60 second or less sleep cycles that happen while we are awake but that we are completely unaware of.

Are you saying that the unions and guilds don’t do enough? Is this an anti union movement?

Not in any way, in fact this is a pro union app. The unions have put a lot of safety measures in place and continue to do so. But sets can only be safe if the people on those sets know what the safety rules are and are vigilant in their safety measures. The unions can’t be everywhere at all times and the crew needs a reminder from time to time that they are the union voice on any set and that they need to speak up when they feel safety is being compromised. No union would ever say that they don’t need their members to remain aware of safety.

Who’s behind this app?

Friends of Sarah Jones made this app as a response to her passing and in the hopes that no one ever has to lose a friend again due to set safety issues.

So why aren’t your names on the app or site?

Because we feel that this movement should be organic in nature and should be for and by the entire film community. This is about more than just a handful of people trying to help, it’s about all of us, and our sets only become safer if we all step up.

So sets are dangerous places?

In theory they can be, depending on the work, but as a rule they don’t have to be. People can get injured by a helicopter just as easily as they can be by a falling light, an action called too early, or falling asleep on the drive home. Sets are complicated busy places and can sometimes have upwards of 100 people so things can happen and vigilance is how sets remain safe.

Isn't it the ADs and Key Grips job to make sure that set safety is enforced?

Absolutely as it is part of their job description and most take that job very seriously. The AD and the Key Grip have a myriad of responsibilities and it isn’t humanly possible for them to have their eyes on all crew members at all times. They need the crew to help them in this quest.

This sounds like it’s anti-production since they are the ones always pushing for things to move faster. Is it?

Absolutely not. It’s not anti anything. It’s pro-speaking up and being heard. No one in production wants to see anyone get hurt on set. While it’s true that budgets are shrinking and crews are working faster and faster, no one feels that safety should suffer as a result. No one wants to have to make that call home after an accident, but sometimes we need to be reminded of that. This app is for everyone, from the newest PA to the highest paid actor and everyone in between.

Who does the “Safety Hotline (Live Op)” number call and do I need to give anyone my information?

The “Safety Hotline (Live Op)” button connects the caller to the Local 600 National Safety Line. After extensive research we found that this was the best number to call but decided not to list it as the Local 600 number for fear that those not in that local might not use it. The hotline is set up for any crew members regardless of union or guild affiliation as are all the numbers listed.

None of the safety hotlines should require a caller to reveal their name or anything beyond information about the show they are calling about. Should anyone say they do require this to place a report, please report this problem to your union or guild and/or let us know so we can have someone look into it.