CAUTIONARY TALE EPISODE 40BIG STICK COMPLIANCECal/OSHA Fines Numerous Businesses For COVID-19 Violations « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Cal/OSHA Fines Numerous Businesses For COVID-19 Violations

Cal/OSHA continues to “encourage” business compliance with its pandemic regulations by targeting, fining and announcing violators on broad scale. Starting with several supermarkets and a frozen food plant we earlier reported, Cal/OSHA has now issued COVID-19 fines  to businesses and facilities that include:

  • Prisons
  • Farmers and farm labor contractors
  • Manufacturing
  • Employment and temporary staffing agencies
  • Wholesalers
  • Medical professionals (dentists, physicians,
  • Supermarkets
  • Construction
  • Millwork
  • Food processing/manufacturing
  • Hospitals
  • Solid waste collection
  • Packing and crating
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Law enforcement
  • Garden center and farm supplies
  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Messenger/delivery company
  • Homes for the elderly and retirement communities
  • Transportation
  • Car dealer
  • Cattle ranching
  • Animal slaughterhouse and processing
  • Universities
  • Bakery

The fines range from the trivial (e.g., $475.00) to, so far, San Quentin State Prison’s top assessment at $396,070.

Violation examples include failures to follow the rules on:

  • establishing/implementing procedures to investigate exposures
  • notifying employees of exposures or providing post-exposure medical evaluations;
  • recording illnesses/injuries on the Cal/OSHA Form 300;
  • having and effectively implementing an Injury & Illness Prevention Plan with respect to COVID-19;
  • reporting to Cal/OSHA serious injuries/illnesses or deaths;
  • requiring physical distancing of at least six feet;
  • utilizing physical barriers when physical distancing is not possible;
  • implementation of screening for employees and visitors;
  • investigating incidents of COVID-19 and establishing close contacts;
  • excluding exposed employees;
  • having suitable cleaning materials; and
  • having procedures/equipment in place to avoid or contain transmission in laboratories.

Employers can consult Cal/OSHA’s multi-lingual guidances by industry, webinars, training and other educational materials, and FAQs  for the required protective and compliance measures.  By the appropriate websites, they should also confirm what COVID-19 situations trigger the duty to record and report to OSHA and/or to their local public health authorities.

Retaliation (e.g., termination, discipline) against employees who raise COVID protection issues is of course also unlawful.  Thus, the Labor Commissioner cited a McDonald’sfranchise, its owners and HR manager for $125,913 in fines for firing four employees who had gone out on strike and complained to the authorities over COVID-19 workplace safety issues.

See also:

Take Away:  Employers should adopt and apply a full set of Cal/OSHA-compliant COVID protocols until the state withdraws them.  We continue to advise and equip businesses with updated templates to this end.  For further information, please contact Tim BowlesCindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin
March 4, 2021

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