Farmworkers File Lawsuit Against Cal/OSHA

The state agency faces claims that it failed to enforce its own outdoor work regulations.

Farmworkers have filed a lawsuit against Cal/OSHA alleging that its regulations intended protecting outdoor workers from heat illnesses have not been enforced. The farmworkers filed the suit together with a union.

The claim the state agency did not enforce regulations that required farmers to provide workers with shade, water, and rest. The lawsuit was filed Oct. 18, seven years after the state adopted the groundbreaking regulation that shade, water, and rest should be provided to outdoor workers.

"At least 28 farmworkers have died of potentially heat-related causes since the regulation was first approved in 2005," said a release from Public Counsel, a pro bono firm representing the workers. "This year alone, Cal/OSHA is investigating heat as a factor in the deaths of four people."

Public Counsel is representing the outdoor workers along with the firm Munger, Tolles & Olson.

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