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San Diego County Supervisors require safety certifications for outdoor events

CRSSD music festival attendees dancing to music at the county Waterfront Park in this undated file photo.
Courtesy of Quinn Tucker
CRSSD music festival attendees dancing to music at the county Waterfront Park in this undated file photo.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday voted 4-1 to require safety certifications for entertainment employees, vendors and subcontractors working on outdoor events at county facilities.

Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer will require that event vendors at county Department of Parks and Recreation facilities ensure that employees are certified under the Entertainment Technician Certification Program and Occupational Health and Safety Administration's 10-hour awareness course, or a comparable safety certification.

The policy will also affect entertainment electricians, portable power distribution technicians, arena rigging, and theatre rigging employees.


County documents said there is no fiscal impact associated with the new policy.

Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher, who proposed the certification requirements, said in a news release that the county has "an obligation to make sure businesses hosting events at our parks and facilities have workers who are properly trained in order to keep them safe and avoid accidents."

Earlier, Fletcher said the policy "will create a complete program that has strenuous requirements," and thanked entertainment event leaders for their input.

Fletcher added that the new requirements "would not be for small mom-and-pop operations."

Supervisor Jim Desmond, who voted against the proposal, said he supports efforts to ensure safety, but the new proposal "adds more government regulations and cost" on event promoters.


Desmond said his no vote was a tough decision, but the events industry was one of the hardest hit by pandemic shutdowns, and he thought it was best for the county to put the responsibility on event promoters, as certifications can change.

During a brief public hearing, the proposal won support from members of the local branch of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Several members cited workplace-related deaths of stagehands at festivals such as Coachella as another reason for the requirement.

"We support this item because our lives literally depend on it," said Juan Perez, who added that the county policy will also save money because it means stage workers avoid injury and don't have to apply for state worker's compensation or disability benefits.

IATSE board member Robert Morales added, "Safety comes first for us, and for our guests."

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