Cal/OSHA fines L.A. County Superior Court more than $25K for safety violations during COVID-19 pandemic

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Court interpreter Nao Ikeuchi, left, and wife Yoshimi Shirata attend a vigil to honor two court interpreters at Los Angeles Superior Court who died recently of COVID-19.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In this undated photo, court interpreter Nao Ikeuchi, left, and wife Yoshimi Shirata attend a vigil to honor two court interpreters at Los Angeles Superior Court who died recently of COVID-19.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

After COVID-19 outbreaks and the deaths of at least four people who worked in Los Angeles County courthouses, California‘s workplace safety agency plans to fine the local court system more than $25,000 for multiple violations.

In a notice Wednesday to L.A. County Superior Court, the state Division of Occupational Health and Safety, known as Cal/OSHA, identified at least three health and safety violations, two of which it deemed “serious.”

The proposed fines and the finding of serious violations were a blow to a court system that consistently defended its pandemic safety practices in the face of mounting criticism from employees, political leaders and attorneys, as well as a lawsuit from civil justice groups who accused the court of prioritizing the “continuity of nonessential operations over community safety and human life.”

The infractions stemmed from the working conditions and safety measures put in place for court interpreters, who provide translation services during hearings, trials and meetings among attorneys and criminal defendants. The ranks of interpreters were especially hard hit during the pandemic: two full-time and one contracted interpreter died earlier this year from COVID-19.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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