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CAL-OSHA Criticized for Weak Fines

Some California legislators are questioning the common practice by the California OSHA Appeals Board of drastically cutting fines after appeals by employers. The state Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations is hearing testimony about the issue. Marta Guzman of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation told the Senate committee that cutting fines has amounted to "a slap on the hand" for companies. In one case, $13,500 in fines issued were cut to $250 for a labor contractor after a worker died of heat stress in 2005. Some witnesses said the work crew had no heat-stress training and insufficient water.

California experienced a rash of worker deaths due to heat stress last summer.

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