LONG BEACH, CALIF. – California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited a frozen meat manufacturer and a staffing company more than $400,000 in proposed penalties and fines after the agency determined companies did not protect employees from COVID-19 exposure.
Overhill Farms LLC, in Vernon, Calif., received a proposed penalty of $222,075. Jobsource, the staffing company, received a proposed find of $214,080.
The agency said that Overhill did not install barriers or implement procedures to have employees work at least 6 feet away from each other. Cal/OSHA also said it did not investigate any of the COVID-19 infections at the facility including one death.
“At the larger of the two facilities Cal/OSHA identified 330 employees of Overhill Farms and 60 employees of Jobsource were exposed to the virus from the lack of physical distancing,” the agency said. “At the smaller facility, Cal/OSHA found 80 Overhill Farms workers and 40 employees of Jobsource did packing operations, worked in the marinating area and processed raw poultry without any distancing procedures or protective barriers in place.”
At the end of April, Cal/OSHA began inspecting Overhill and Jobsource after receiving hazard- related complaints. Inspections included visits to two facilities run by the companies.
Along with COVID-19 related fines, the two companies were also cited for accidents that occurred in February – Overhill’s totaled $103,780 and Jobsource was cited $29,700.