GRAND ISLAND, NE — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Rivera Agri Inc. — a provider of temporary agricultural labor — for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat after a farmworker succumbed to apparent heat-related symptoms while working in a cornfield near Grand Island, Nebraska.
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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.