Six area employers cited for COVID-19 safety violations

Cal/OSHA has cited six employers in the greater Bay Area for failing to adequately protect employees from the novel coronavirus, the agency said Friday.  

Cal/OSHA cited Uni-Kool Partners in Salinas, Sutter Bay Medical Foundation in Berkeley, Serve Max Farm Labor in Vacaville, Ruiz Farm Labor in Dixon, Michel Labor Services Inc. in Dixon, and M and J Williams Inc. in Santa Clara, which is doing business as Grocery Outlet Bargain Market.  

The six are included among 11 employers cited statewide, in the food processing, meatpacking, health care, agriculture and retail industries. Penalties for the citations ranged from about $2,000 to a penalty of more than $50,000 for a food processing company in Monterey Park.  

"These are industries where workers have been disproportionately affected, and these citations are the first of many to be issued in the coming weeks and months," Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker said. 

Michel Labor Services, a farm labor contractor, received a penalty of $11,700, the stiffest penalty among the Bay Area companies that were cited. Serve Max Farm Labor was the only other employer to receive a penalty of more than $7,000, at $11,250.  

The agency conducted nearly 8,000 compliance checks to businesses across the state in July to identify issues with protecting employees from the coronavirus.  

Employees can file complaints about workplace safety and hazards at a Cal/OSHA district office or by calling (844) 522-6734.