Cal/OSHA has been visiting farms and agricultural facilities in the Central Valley and throughout California to enforce health orders related to COVID-19. Businesses who aren’t in compliance are receiving citations for failure to follow social distancing measures. The visits have come in the recent weeks and it appears that Cal/OSHA is targeting rural areas. Employers are encouraged to be on the lookout for Cal/OSHA.
Earlier this month, Governor Newsom formed “strike teams” comprised of 10 state agencies (including Cal/OSHA) to partner with local health agencies to enforce health orders related to coronavirus. Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner’s Office have strategically targeted investigations in high-risk industries, where the state has seen the most workplace outbreaks. Governor Newsom has previously emphasized that enforcement is tied to worker safety. “One should not have to put their life at risk to go to work as an essential worker,” the governor said.
Cal/OSHA issued a press release on July 16, 2020 urging employers to follow the state’s guidance on protecting workers from COVID-19. The press release can be found here. Since then, hundreds of state strike teams have fanned across California to check businesses, including farms, for violations of health mandates. Minimum fines for social distancing violations are being estimated at $5,000.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
- Have your IIPP’s completely integrated with a COVID-19 comprehensive plan and practices;
- Track and maintain all steps taken and money spent on preventative programs, practices and workplace reconfigurations;
- Compile and maintain all training records and materials
- Track PPE training and use;
- Track daily communications and refreshers to crews that may not make it into your training records; and
- Constantly update all of the above!!!