Florida Company Cited After Worker Dies from Heat Illness

Florida Company Cited After Worker Dies from Heat Illness

The company was cited for two serious violations.

A Florida labor contractor was cited by OSHA after one of the workers died from a heat illness.

In April 2022, a farmworker, who had only been working on the job for two days, was harvesting strawberries at a farm in Duette, Florida. In the late afternoon, the worker showed “signs of disorientation” following a day with a high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a news release. The worker became “unresponsive” and was taken to a “housing unit.” They died from a heat illness.

The employer, Citrus Harvesting Inc., was cited for two serious violations, one for putting workers at risk of “high ambient heat” hazards and one for not ensuring that workers had first aid training, according to the news release. OSHA proposed $29,004 in penalties.

Citrus Harvesting Inc allegedly did not have a schedule for work and rest and “did not maintain an effective heat illness prevention plan,” OSHA says.

"Citrus Harvesting Inc. failed to take reasonable steps to ensure employees assigned to work outdoors in hot temperatures are taking frequent rest and water breaks," said OSHA Area Office Director Danelle Jindra in Tampa, Florida, in the news release. "An effective heat illness prevention plan could have prevented this tragedy."

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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