Heat Safety Costs Employers Plenty

(Is it worth it?)
472 violations  =  $415,398 in penalties
10 employers fined = $45,500 in penalties

Handling Non-Compliance in California

California’s Department  of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) continues to focus on heat illness prevention through increased enforcement and education this year.

Since the current  heat wave began on July 11, Cal/OSHA conducted  167 inspections  of outdoor workplaces  identifying more than 200 violations  while checking for compliance to the heat illness prevention regulations. Gaining compliance  from employers is the goal to successfully reducing the number of illnesses and fatalities for all outdoor workers across the state.

“Our increased enforcement  and outreach efforts demonstrate the commitment we have to ensuring the safety and health of California workers,” said Department of Industrial Relations Director John Duncan.  “We are also working with industry, community, and labor groups to educate employers and the public so they understand how to comply with the nation’s first regulation to protect workers from heat-related illnesses and deaths.”

This year  so far a total of  1,702 inspections  were conducted to enforce compliance with heat illness prevention regulations and  472 violations  of regulations have been documented with a total of  $415,398 in penalties assessed.

Ten employers  in the agricultural industry were ordered by Cal/OSHA to stop operations at outdoor worksites due to violations of the heat illness prevention standard posing an imminent hazard for their employees. 

One employer  had less than one gallon of water for a team of 15 employees working in 116 degree heat in Coachella. (workersxzcompxzkit)

All but one  of the employers has reportedly corrected the hazards and returned to operation.  However, the employers still face citations and $45,500 in stiff penalties for violations of heat illness prevention regulations.

Author:  Robert Elliott, J.D.

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