Los Angeles County’s court system will appeal the $25,000 in penalties proposed by California’s workplace safety agency over alleged violations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, court officials announced Thursday.
The citation from the state Division of Occupational Health and Safety, known as Cal/OSHA, alleges that the court failed to immediately report to Cal/OSHA the “serious illness of an employee, due to COVID-19, who was hospitalized” on or about Jan. 4, along with failing to provide COVID-19 prevention training to “all of its court interpreters who may be exposed to workplace COVID-19 hazards” and failing to ensure that physical distancing of at least six feet in all directions was maintained between employees in the interpreters’ employee lounge.
Two full-time interpreters and one contracted interpreter died earlier this year from COVID-19.
Two of the alleged violations were classified in the citation by Cal/OSHA as “serious,” while one was classified as “regulatory.” The citation carries $25,250 in proposed penalties.
The alleged violations were already either corrected during the inspection or are “currently being abated by court management,” according to a statement issued by court officials.
“The court will be appealing these proposed penalties due to important information we believe Cal/OSHA has not been provided,” Sherri Carter, the executive officer/clerk of court, said in the statement.
Carter said the court “looks forward to providing Cal/OSHA with more information during the appeals process,” but noted that the court’s management is “open to hearing if there are ways we can improve.”
The court’s management has “worked very hard to develop policies, procedures, online and remote programs, training and guidance to enforce Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health directives in an effort to support an environment as safe as possible during the unprecedented pandemic,” Carter said.
Previous related story: Cal/OSHA proposes more than $25,000 in fines to LA County Superior Court