Earlier this month, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) issued another round of citations to employers in the Golden State who allegedly failed to meet State standards to protect their workers from hazards related to coronavirus.
The 11 companies cited on September 4
include two food processing facilities, a meatpacking plant, six agricultural companies, a grocer, and a healthcare facility.
Employers were cited for various violations, all related COVID-19 worker safety. Some were cited for additional State safety/health standards. Some violations were more serious than others, with proposed penalties ranging from $2,025 to $51,190.
Cal/OSHA is committed to ensuring workers have the tools to perform their jobs safely and helping businesses recognize their workplace safety responsibilities. In July alone, the Agency conducted almost 8,000 compliance assistance visits 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 e-mails and conference calls with trade associations, employer groups, employers, labor, and other stakeholders.
Which Industry Had the Most Expensive Violations?
Cal/OSHA is keeping a close watch on the food processing industry. A poultry processor in Monterey Park received the most expensive citation—$51,190—from Cal/OSHA for alleged violations related to COVID-19 workplace safety.
According to Cal/OSHA, the company put its workers at risk for serious illness because it did not ensure workers were physically distanced at least six feet apart in the processing area, nor did it install barriers between workers.
In a separate round of citations, Cal/OSHA announced citations against a frozen food manufacturer
that operates two facilities in Vernon, CA. According to the Agency, the company failed to develop protocols to keep workers at least six feet apart.
The company also allegedly failed to investigate and report work-related COVID-19 infections. This included more than 20 infections and one fatality. Cal/OSHA proposed a penalty of $222,075. The company has already fixed some of the deficiencies.
Cal/OSHA Moves Forward With COVID-19 Emergency Rulemaking
Although no specific COVID-19 safety measures are required by US Department of Labor’s OSHA, many states have enacted their own COVID-19 workplace safety requirements
, including Virginia, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and—of course—California.
On Thursday, September 17, California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted unanimously to approve a petition
for emergency rulemaking to protect employees who are not already covered by the state's Aerosol Transmissible Disease (ATD) Standard from exposure to COVID-19 at work.
Cal/OSHA will amend Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations
(8 CCR) to create new worker protections and a provision for employee COVID-19 training, as the approved petition
encouraged the Agency to do.
Now Available: COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online Training
Lion recently launched the COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course
to help US workplaces operate safely. As facilities nationwide revamp their operations, it is crucial that employees know how to protect themselves and their co-workers from exposure to COVID-19.
The course prepares employees to:
The course is designed to help employers nationwide satisfy COVID-19 employee awareness and training requirements now in place in many states, including California.
- Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors of COVID-19.
- Describe how the COVID-19 disease is transmitted.
- Follow recommended hygiene and work protocols to prevent exposure.
- Properly use and care for PPE and face coverings, when required.