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The California Department of Industrial Relations announced Friday that it has cited 11 employers for not protecting employees from COVID-19 exposure during inspections of industries where it says workers have an elevated risk of exposure.
The employers were cited for various violations including some classified as serious, with proposed penalties ranging from $2,025 to $51,190, according to Cal/OSHA.
Most of the citations are for failing to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19 because the business “did not take steps to update their workplace safety plans to properly address hazards related to the virus,” Cal/OHSA said.
Cal/OSHA provided some immediate details in a statement on several citations: two food-processing plants — one issued the largest fine — failed to social distance workers nor did they install barriers; a third food-processing plant failed to screen employees and visitors and failed to take safety measures when employees exhibited signs of COVID-19; and a health care facility, which was inspected after an employee became ill with COVID-19, failed to comply with respiratory protection measures. The office did not immediately respond to follow-up questions on specific citations.
Five citations — all in agriculture — included violations of the state’s heat illness prevention rules, according to chart detailing the violations.
The inspections were opened after notification of serious illnesses, complaints of workplace hazards and after proactive joint enforcement efforts, according to a statement.
The citations came after 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 said in the statement.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health on Tuesday announced more than $250,160 in citations and penalties against Aardvark Clay & Supplies Inc. for its willful failure to properly guard equipment after an employee was fatally entangled in a clay manufacturing machine.