CA issues largest COVID-19 safety fine of $222K to Overhill Farms in Vernon

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Overhill Farms workers take part in an Aug. 31 memorial ceremony in front of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles to honor those who have died of COVID-19.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Overhill Farms workers take part in an Aug. 31 memorial ceremony in front of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles to honor those who have died of COVID-19.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued its largest fine for coronavirus health violations to Overhill Farms, a frozen food manufacturer in Vernon, as well as the company’s temporary employment agency for failing to take adequate steps to protect hundreds of workers from the virus.

Cal/OSHA announced proposed penalties of $222,075 for Overhill Farms and $214,080 for Jobsource North America, which the companies can appeal. In a statement Wednesday, the agency said that both companies had failed to install barriers, to ensure that workers practiced physical distancing and to train employees on the dangers of the virus.

The move followed the first fines the agency announced for coronavirus safety violations last week. Cal/OSHA cited 11 employers in industries that included food processing, retail, agriculture, meatpacking and healthcare, and proposed penalties ranging from $2,025 to $51,190.

“It is critical that employers evaluate the workplace and take proactive measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace,” Chief Doug Parker said in a statement. “If a COVID-19 illness occurs, employers must investigate the case to determine if additional protective measures should be taken and report the serious illnesses and deaths to Cal/OSHA.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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