Federal Investigators Probe Heat-Related Worker Deaths in California
Federal investigators are investigating two deaths that may be related to heat illness in California, according to the Sacramento Bee. Officials from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are looking into the most recent suspected heat related death, when a 66-year-old farm worker collapsed in Coalinga while working in the heat on June 1.
“While our field inspections reveal that many employers are complying with California’s first in the nation heat standard, we are deeply concerned that some employers are still not providing the basic protections to their workers,” says California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Director Christine Baker. “We will use all our resources and expand partnerships with labor and employers to protect workers in all outdoor occupations this summer.”
The other incident involved an 18-year-old masonry worker who fell unconscious while cleaning up a site and died the next day from injuries. In May, OSHA launched an extensive awareness campaign to educate both employers and employees about the dangers of heat exhaustion, particularly in hotter regions in the summer.
“We immediately responded in each case to determine what happened and whether there were violations of the heat standard,” says Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess. “We will be out there in full force throughout the state all summer—through scheduled inspections and local ‘heat wave’ inspections when temperatures soar—to ensure compliance with the heat standard and to save workers’ lives.”
If you or a loved one suffers an injury on the job, including heat exhaustion, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney to find out if you qualify for workers comp.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus workers comp attorneys.