By Benjamin D. BriggsBrent I. ClarkMark A. Lies, IIAdam R. YoungIlana R. Morady, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: Cal/OSHA, in a press release, noted that it recently issued citations to a food manufacturer and its temporary employment agency, with over $200,000 in proposed penalties to each employer for “failing to protect hundreds of employees from COVID-19 at two plants.”

According to the Agency, the employers did not take “any steps to install barriers or implement procedures to have employees work at least six feet away from each other and they did not investigate any of their employees’ COVID-19 infections.” In addition, the employers did not “adequately communicate the COVID-19 hazards” to its employees and in at least one case did not report a COVID-19 fatality to Cal/OSHA.

The Agency noted that the citations also allege that the “employer did not notify employees about their potential exposure to other employees who had been diagnosed as infected with the virus so that such employees would be able to take appropriate protective measures.”

Cal/OSHA’s Chief, Doug Parker, indicated that “if a COVID-19 illness occurs, employers must investigate the case to determine if additional protective measures should be taken and report the serious illnesses and deaths to Cal/OSHA. Employers should also notify workers of possible exposure and report outbreaks to county public health officials.”

For more information on this or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Seyfarth Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.