OSHA cites company in excessive heat death of detasseler
The detasseling company whose worker died in a corn field in July has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In a press release, OSHA said Rivera Agri Inc. – a provider of temporary agricultural labor – failed to protect employees working in excessive heat after a farmworker succumbed to apparent heat-related symptoms while working in a cornfield near Grand Island.
The report said the heat index reached 100 degrees on two days in July 2018. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to implement and train employees on a heat injury and illness prevention program. OSHA cited the company for a serious violation of the General Duty Clause, and proposed penalties totaling $11,641.
“This tragedy underscores the need for employers with workers exposed to high temperatures to take simple, well-known precautions – such as ensuring workers have access to water, rest, and shade – to keep workers safe in extreme heat,” said OSHA Omaha Area Office Director Jeff Funke.
OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Heat webpage explains what employers can do to keep workers safe and what workers need to know - including factors for heat illness, adapting to working in indoor and outdoor heat, protecting workers, recognizing symptoms, and first aid training.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.