As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, and the future remains uncertain, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) continues to cite multiple employers for safety and health violations related explicitly to workplace COVID-19 exposures.
Several states, including California, Michigan, and Oregon, have temporary emergency standards for COVID-19. Virginia even has a permanent COVID-19 infectious disease standard. On January 21, President Joe Biden even ordered OSHA to consider creating a federal standard.
Let’s discuss some of the recent citations for COVID-19 violations issued by Cal/OSHA.
Cal/OSHA Is Enforcing COVID-19 Regulations
Cal/OSHA is citing several employers, including healthcare facilities like Kaiser Permanente centers in San Leandro and Antioch, Avenal and San Quenten State Prisons, and even some grocery and clothing stores.
Cal/OSHA conducted inspections of the state prisons after reports of hospitalizations and staff following outbreaks at the facilities. They proposed penalties totaling $39,600 for violations at Avenal State Prison and $421,880 for inspection violations at San Quentin State Prison.
The state agency determined that staff at San Quentin were not provided with adequate training or sufficient equipment for working with individuals infected with COVID-19 or even employees who had been exposed to the virus. Inmates were not provided with satisfactory medical services, including testing, contact tracing, and referrals to physicians CURAGE ÎLE DE FRANCE. Cal/OSHA issued citations for several varying degrees of violations, including failure to institute an effective aerosol transmissible diseases (ATDs) control exposure plan.
California has a permanent ATD standard that applies to correctional facilities, emergency services, and healthcare facilities. Cal/OSHA found that Avenal State Prison failed to maintain an effective written ATD program, was unable to implement and enforce work practice controls to minimize employee exposures, and had an inadequate written respiratory protection plan. The agency had to issue three citations because of these violations.
Cal/OSHA also inspected several healthcare facilities following reports of severe COVID-19 related illnesses at Kaiser Permanente medical centers. This includes centers in San Leandro, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Burlingame-based Mills-Peninsula Medical Centers, and Fairfield-based NorthBay Medical Center. Cal/OSHA found deficiencies in the ATD and respiratory protection programs and was forced to issue citations for serious and regulatory violations. These facilities also failed to immediately report serious COVID-19-related illnesses.
Grocery Stores and Children Clothing Stores
Cal/OSHA also cited Cardenas Market in Oakland for several violations following an inspection opened after learning from media coverage of an outbreak in which 17 workers tested positive for COVID-19. Cardenas Market failed to require face coverings or masks or implement social distancing, and they also failed to provide training to their workers about coronavirus hazards. They also failed to report a COVID-19-related illness that required hospitalizations.
Carter’s Children’s Wear of Gilroy was given a citation for one regulatory and one serious violation after a coronavirus accident inspection. The agency found that this children’s clothing story failed to report illnesses related to COVID-19 and also failed to establish, implement, and maintain a sufficient Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).
California has a unique IIPP standard that requires all employees in the state to assess hazards and establish a written safety and health management program.
Make Sure You Are Up To Date With COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Online Training
Avoid violations and citations by making sure your entire enterprise is up to date with COVID-19 training. At Clear Law Institute, our COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training is a short 25-minute online course perfect for organizations and all employees returning to the workplace. It is 50-state compliant, so no matter where you are located, your organization will be covered.
Our online training works for businesses that were previously closed and then were reopened, and also for those enterprises that never closed and continued in-person work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This training is compliant with all federal and state laws and is updated weekly as laws and standards change.
You’ll be happy to know that our online training complies with OSHA and CDC guidelines and mandatory state training requirements. This includes California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Make sure your business and your employees are covered. Learn more about our COVID-19 training here.