OAKLAND, CALIF. – California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited two meat processors with proposed penalties and fines after the agency determined companies did not protect employees from COVID-19 exposure.
DL Poultry, a meat processor in Monterey Park, Calif., received a proposed penalty of $51,190. Olson Meat Co., in Orland, Calif., also received a proposed penalty of $9,000.
“We have identified these industries as priorities in our strategic enforcement efforts to make sure employers have adequate COVID-19 infection prevention procedures in place,” said Doug Parker, chief of Cal/OSHA. “These are industries where workers have been disproportionately affected, and these citations are the first of many to be issued in the coming weeks and months.”
The agency said the companies did not take steps to update their workplace safety plans to address hazards related to COVID-19 adequately. Inspections were opened after notification of serious illnesses, complaints of workplace hazards and after proactive joint enforcement efforts.
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, “DL Poultry and Olson Meat put their workers at risk for serious illness because they did not ensure their workers were physically distanced at least six feet apart in the processing area, nor did they install Plexiglas or other barriers between the workers.”
The employers cited in the report were part of a multi-agency taskforce by California Governor Gavin Newsom to address COVID-19 hazards. Cal/OSHA has created guidance for many industries in multiple languages, including videos, daily checklists and detailed guidelines on how to protect workers from the virus.