California officials have more than fines to use against companies that expose employees to extreme outdoor heat without adequate protection — and they’re using these measures against violators.
The state recently shut down five farm labor contractors for violations of heat illness prevention regulations.
Four contractors provided no shade for workers exposed to temperatures over 100 degrees, and one had less than a single gallon of water for 15 employees working in temperatures as high as 116 degrees.
The state uses the Order to Prohibit Use (OPU) to shut down employers when employees are exposed to an immediate hazard. The employers’ operations are stopped until they can prove their ability to safeguard workers.
The OPU was first used last year against Merced Farm Labor following the death of Maria Vasquez Jimenez who had been working 9 hours in a vineyard with little water and no shade.
Already this year, California has conducted over 850 heat inspections and issued more than 250 citations for violations of the heat illness prevention standards.
More information about heat illness prevention and training materials are available here.