California is serious about providing outdoor workers with relief from heat: Three top officials for a now out-of-business farm labor contractor face involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of a teen from heat stress.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney has charged the former owner, safety director and a supervisor of Merced Farm Labor in the death of 17-year-old Maria Vasquez Jimenez. She was two months pregnant at the time of her death.
The three were also charged with one felony and five misdemeanor violations of state labor code.
Authorities say Vasquez Jimenez died May 14, 2008, because she lacked access to shade and water as she pruned grapevines for more than nine hours in nearly triple-digit heat.
After she collapsed, her supervisor recommended she rest in a hot van. Her fiance took her to a medical clinic two hours later.
Cal-OSHA fined Merced Farms $262,700 for violating eight workplace safety rules. The company later surrendered its license.