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California’s Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) discovered safety violations at four sites during August 2015, immediately issuing orders stopping work at the sites and requiring the employers to correct the hazardous conditions.
On Aug. 19, investigators discovered serious safety violations at a food processing plant in Yuba City, a roofing operation in San Diego and a garment factory in Los Angeles. A fourth violation was discovered on Aug. 25 at a plastering operation in San Diego.
LETF is a coalition of California state and local enforcement agencies, formed in 2012. It operates under the direction of the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). LETF teams conduct monthly inspections targeting employers in high-risk industries.
“These inspections give us an opportunity to help employers understand how best to protect their employees,” said Christine Baker, DIR director.
At the San Diego roofing company, at least four employees were working with no fall protection near the edge of a four-story building’s roof—at a height greater than 50 feet—where a fall likely would have caused death.
At the plastering company, inspectors observed workers on an 11-foot-high scaffold with a base that was insecure, had missing rails and was not fully planked. A fall from that height could result in head trauma, paralysis or death.
“LETF monitors not only for safety violations, but also for violations of wage, tax and licensing laws,” said Dominic Forrest, LETF chief. “We also offer information that helps employers understand and follow their responsibilities.”
At the garment factory in Los Angeles, investigators found both safety and labor law violations. Workers installing rivets onto pants were using a machine with an exposed flywheel and no safety guards, exposing themselves to finger and hand amputations. In addition, LETF investigators cited the employer $29,257 for failing to carry workers’ compensation, not paying minimum wage or overtime, and not providing workers with an itemized wage statement.
At the food processing plant in Yuba City, investigators observed workers using an unguarded dipping line machine, which is used to process plums into prunes. Without guards, workers could become entangled in the moving parts of the machine, resulting in substantial probability of injuries, including fractures or amputations.
Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor.
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