Cal-OSHA fines stick even after several appeals.

Barrett Business Services was cited in 2011 for a carbon monoxide incident that sent at least eight employees to the hospital.

After several appeals, Cal-OSHA fines stand and  Barrett Business Services ends up paying $80,000.  It appears that Barrett ignored several complaints by employees that went on for several months. The complaints ranged from headaches, nausea, and other related issues.

In addition to that, there were also complaints about a lack of proper ventilation.  Everything came to a head when a forklift driver and seven other employees had to go to the hospital.  The forklift driver was hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning.

When Cal-OSHA tested the air quality, they found that there were 250-350 parts per million.  This was bad news for the companies involved since the ceiling was only 200 parts per million.

Per California Law, every employer is supposed to have a way for employees to report unsafe conditions.  When an employee reports that there is, an unsafe work condition the employer is supposed to do a hazard inspection and then fix the hazard.

The fact that the employee’s complaints went unaddressed for months is unconscionable.  In addition to that L&L Foods chose to seal off all the vents.  This made it impossible for clean air to get into the warehouse.

Illness Injury Prevention Program and Valid Safety Polices need to be in place

  • Cal-OSHA requires that every employer in the state of California have a formally written safety program. The program must have a safety officer or committee assigned to enforce the program.
  • There must also be a hazard inspection done periodically.
  • When new equipment is brought in employees are to be trained on the new equipment to ensure that the equipment is being operated in a safe manner.
  • Employees should either be written up for safety violations, or there should be a commendation for a good year with no accidents.
  • Safety Training needs to be done on a regular basis.
  • Employers should also be posting the Cal-OSHA 300 log from February to April.

If the employees work in temperatures of 90 degrees or more, then the company also needs to have a Heat Illness Prevention Program in place too.

All forklift drivers need to be certified as well.  Cal-OSHA also expects a paper trail documentation of all the above.

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