July 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Culver City Ralphs Cited for Failure to Report a Worker’s COVID-19 Death

Groocery store faces $25k fine

By Chad Winthrop

California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has cited five grocery stores in Southern California for failing to protect their employees from COVID-19, including a Culver City Ralphs that neglected to report a worker’s COVID-19 death.

The retailers listed below were cited for various health and safety violations including some classified as serious, with proposed penalties ranging from $13,500 to $25,560.

“Grocery retail workers are on the front lines and face a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. “Employers in this industry must investigate possible causes of employee illness and put in place the necessary measures to protect their staff.”

The stores cited for COVID-19 and other safety and health violations include:

Employer NameIndustryWorksite LocationInspection
Type
Proposed
Penalties
RalphsGroceryCulver CityAccident-initiated$25,560
*RalphsGroceryWest HollywoodComplaint-initiated$25,120
*RalphsGrocerySherman OaksReferral-initiated$23,700
*RalphsGroceryStudio CityComplaint-initiated$13,500
*Food 4 LessGroceryLos AngelesComplaint-initiated$16,500
*Did not provide physical distance between employees and customers

The grocery stores above, owned and operated by Cincinnati-based Kroger Company, were cited for failing to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19 because they did not update their workplace safety plans to properly address hazards related to the virus.

The Food 4 Less in Los Angeles and Ralphs grocery stores in Studio City, Sherman Oaks and West Hollywood put their workers at risk for serious illness by allowing too many customers in the store, which prevented workers from maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance.

The Studio City location exposed workers in the cheese department to hazards related to COVID-19 as they did not install physical barriers between employees and customers. Plexiglas or other required barriers were not installed at registers 1-8 at the West Hollywood location.

Cal/OSHA inspectors determined that both the Culver City and West Hollywood locations failed to provide effective training for their employees, including instruction on how the virus is spread, measures to avoid infection, signs and symptoms of infection, and how to safely use cleaners and disinfectants.

The Culver City and Sherman Oaks grocery stores failed to report a worker’s fatal COVID-19 illness at each location. Cal/OSHA learned of the fatality seven days after the worker’s death in Culver City, and six days after the fatality in Sherman Oaks.

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