Cal/OSHA Issues Citations to Multiple Employers for COVID-19 Violations
Department of Industrial Relations - September 4, 2020
Oakland—Cal/OSHA has cited 11 employers for not protecting employees from COVID-19 exposure during inspections of industries where workers have an elevated risk of exposure. The industries include food processing, meatpacking, health care, agriculture and retail. The employers listed below were cited for various violations including some classified as serious, with proposed penalties ranging from $2,025 to $51,190.
“We have identified these industries as priorities in our strategic enforcement efforts to make sure employers have adequate COVID-19 infection prevention procedures in place,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. “These are industries where workers have been disproportionately affected, and these citations are the first of many to be issued in the coming weeks and months.”
The employers were cited for not protecting workers from exposure to COVID-19 because they did not take steps to update their workplace safety plans to properly address hazards related to the virus.
The inspections were opened after notification of serious illnesses, complaints of workplace hazards and after proactive joint enforcement efforts.
D.L. Poultry, Inc. in Monterey Park and Olson Meat Company in Orland put their workers at risk for serious illness because they did not ensure their workers were physically distanced at least six feet apart in the processing area, nor did they install Plexiglas or other barriers between the workers. Uni-Kool Partners in Salinas put their workers at risk as they did not implement procedures to screen employees and visitors arriving at the facility, and failed to take appropriate measures for employees who exhibited COVID-19 symptoms at the facility.
Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation in Berkeley was cited after an employee became ill with COVID-19. Cal/OSHA found the employer failed to comply with the Aerosol Transmissible Disease standard that requires proper respiratory protection in health care settings when transporting patients suspected of having airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
The agricultural employers cited were inspected in July as part of Governor Newsom’s multi-agency strategic enforcement taskforce to address COVID-19 hazards. Several of these employers were also cited for failure to protect their workers from heat illness.
Cal/OSHA also conducted almost 8,000 compliance assistance visits in July to identify and correct issues on the spot, and engaged with more than 400,000 businesses as part of an ongoing outreach and education effort that has included emails and conference calls with trade associations, employer groups, employers, labor and other stakeholders. Cal/OSHA is also providing live, online training for employers in the agriculture, meatpacking and food processing sectors.
Cal/OSHA has created guidance for many industries in multiple languages including videos, daily checklists and detailed guidelines on how to protect workers from the virus. This guidance is meant to provide a roadmap for employers on their existing obligations to protect workers from COVID-19.
Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.
Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices. Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).
CLICK HERE to read this Press Release on the Department of Industrial Relation’s website.