OSHA targets California's agricultural workplaces

The California Division of Occupational Health and Safety recently announced that it will be paying special attention to the workplace safety of fixed sites on agricultural properties, such as greenhouses, packing sheds, and dairies. The planned inspections are in response to complaints received last year about heat-related illnesses affecting many agricultural workers in such workplaces.

OSHA authorities believe new areas of accountability will greatly assist in their enforcement efforts. For example, labor contractor licensing and license verification has recently been streamlined. Labor contractors are newly required to list the name of the grower on check stubs. In addition, a new online licensing process allows contractors to submit fingerprints, proof of bond and other document entirely using the Internet.

Heat illness is a very serious threat to California's agricultural workers, and employers need to take adequate safety precautions to avoid heat build-up in confined spaces. OSHA's new enforcement efforts and inspections will greatly help this issue.

Yet accidents in the workplace sometimes cannot be avoided. When a worker is injured at work, he or she has a right to consult with a workers' compensation attorney. An attorney will ensure that a worker's job security will not be jeopardized while he or she is on medical bill. An attorney will also make sure than an employer pays for a worker's medical bills. In many cases, compensation may be available both during and after a worker's recovery. An attorney can review an employer's insurance policy and determine the maximum amount of coverage available to an injured employee.

Source: agalert.com, "Inspections will focus on safety as 'fixed sites,'" Bob Johnson, March 6, 2013

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