June 29, 2023

Farms Assessed $165,0000 by Cal/OSHA after Half Moon Bay Massacre

According to Cal/OSHA, two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms face up to $165,000 in penalties following the agency’s investigation into a deadly active shooter incident that took place last February.

The regulatory agency cited California Terra Gardens, under Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) requirements, for twenty-two alleged violations – many considered serious under Cal/OSHA standards – totaling $113,800 in penalties. Some of the more serious allegations centered around the company’s:

  • Failure to “effectively identify and evaluate” the hazard of an active shooter, as well as previous threats made at the worksite.
  • Failure to implement IIPP provisions for conducting job hazard analyses.
  • Failing to notify employees of an active shooter situation and providing information for avoidance and protection.

Concord Farms faces similar IIPP-related allegations and equally significant penalties for:

  • Failing to implement a progressive discipline program when a farm resident was assaulted by employees and where employees were “threatened and bullied” by other employees.
  • Failing to identify the hazard of “verbal, physical and retaliatory forms of workplace violence;” and
  • Failing to investigate the reported assault on the farm resident.

In the wake of these tragic events, the importance of Cal/OSHA compliance when it comes to IIPP regulations cannot be understated. As a reminder, all California employers must establish, implement and maintain a written IIPP  and must maintain a copy at each workplace or at a central worksite if there are no fixed worksites. The requirements for establishing, implementing and maintaining an effective written IIPP  consist of the following eight elements[i]:

  • Responsibility
  • Compliance
  • Communication
  • Hazard Assessment
  • Accident/Exposure Investigation
  • Hazard Correction
  • Training and Instruction
  • Recordkeeping

Employers can download a free Model IIPP from the Cal/OSHA website.

[i] Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations Section 3203.