California’s workplace safety agency is proposing to fine the Los Angeles County Superior Court more than $25,000 for multiple violations related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state Division of Occupational Health and Safety, known as Cal/OSHA, notified the court Wednesday it has identified at least three health and safety violations, two of which it deemed serious, related to working conditions and safety measures put in place for court interpreters, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One violation stems from the court’s failure to immediately notify Cal/OSHA that an employee was seriously ill and hospitalized with COVID-19 in early January, according to The Times. That violation carried a proposed fine of $5,000.
A second violation, which resulted in a proposed fine of $13,500, arose from the court system’s failure to implement an effective illness and injury prevention program and correct unhealthy practices, including a lack of COVID-19 prevention training to interpreters, The Times reported. The third violation, with a proposed fine of $6,750, stemmed from the court’s failure to ensure physical distancing in the interpreters’ lounge, The Times reported.
Two full-time interpreters and one contracted interpreter died earlier this year from COVID-19.
Ann E. Donlan, communications director for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, disputed the three alleged violations identified by Cal/OSHA and said administrative records cast doubt on the basis for the penalties.
“The court will be appealing these alleged violations because we do not believe Cal/OSHA has complete information,” Donlan said in a statement to The Times.
Donlan told The Times records show Cal/OSHA was notified within eight hours of receiving word that interpreter Sergio Cafaro was ill with the coronavirus, the court provided COVID-19 training to all court employees throughout the pandemic and the court interpreters’ lounge had signage about social distancing, among other measures.