Flash Report: Cal/OSHA’s First COVID Cites

Cal/OSHA cited 11 employers in food processing, meatpacking, healthcare, agriculture and retail for allegedly failing to protect employees from COVID-19 exposure.

The employers include:

  • DL Poultry of Monterey Park;
  • Uni-Kool Partners of Salinas;
  • Olson Meat Co. of Orland;
  • Sutter Bay Medical Foundation of Berkeley;
  • Serve Max Farm Labor Contractor of Vacaville;
  • Ruiz Farm Labor of Dixon;
  • Michel Labor Services, also of Dixon;
  • Sierra-Cascade Nursery of Macdoel, Siskiyou County;
  • Planasa, also of Macdoel;
  • Duncan Family Farms of Tulelake, also in Siskiyou County; and
  • Grocery Outlet Bargain Market of Santa Clara.

Four of the agriculture-related employers also were cited for heat illness violations.

The inspections were initiated after either employees became seriously ill, DOSH received complaints about conditions at the workplaces, or as the result of joint enforcement efforts.

DL Poultry faces the highest proposed penalties of any of the employers – $51,190 – and was cited for four serious violations. Two were brought under the Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard for failing to enact COVID precautions, such as physical distancing and using barriers to separate employees; and failing to provide effective training on a new hazard – COVID.

The two other serious violations were for allegedly failing to provide proper emergency eyewash facilities.

In the case of Sutter Bay, Cal/OSHA alleges a single serious violation of the aerosol transmissible diseases standard for failing to ensure that employees used respirators when transporting confirmed or suspected cases of airborne infectious diseases such as COVID. This case was the only one of the 11 that involved a COVID illness.

DL Poultry, Uni-Kool Partners and Olson Meat were complaint-based, and the rest were inspected as part of a multi-agency enforcement task force to address COVID hazards.

 

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