The State of California is sued for not protecting agricultural laborers

At least 28 workers have died, due to bad working conditions

LOS ANGELES.- The State of California was sued yesterday for failing to protect field workers from the excess exposure to heat, and for not enforcing the corresponding laws including failure to punish any violations.

The Legal Public Law Center along with the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, filed a law suit yesterday against the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal OSHA), augmenting that the they had failed to systematically enforce regulations to protect workers from excessive heat exposure in the fields.

"At least 28 farm workers have died, and could be potentially heat related deaths since the regulation was approved in 2005", informed the Public Counsel yesterday through in a message.

The law suit claims that the entity did not enforce the regulations that required growers to provide, water and breaks for the workers.

According to the legal complaint, Cal OSHA has not made enough inspections in the workplace, also had failed to investigate injuries and heat-related deaths, and "has not made any significant fines against those who have violated regulations against heat-related illnesses".

Cal OSHA has not responded yet to the law suit, although in the past the administration said that it is trying to enforce the regulations within their limited resources.

At the end of September California governor Jerry Brown vetoed two initiatives, The Humane Treatment for Farm Workers Act, which would make it a crime for those who failed to provide protection for workers against the heat, and The Farms Worker Safety Act of 2012, which would allow a farm worker to take a repeated offender to court for violations.

According to the Farm Workers Union, in 2011 the organization made more than 75 complaints regarding heat-related illnesses from the excess exposure to heat in the fields, but Cal OSHA only issued three citations related to the complaints.

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