The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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, Neb.
OSHA cited the company for a serious violation of the General Duty Clause, and proposed penalties totaling $11,641.
According to the agency, the heat index reached 100 degrees on two days in July. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to implement and train employees on a heat injury and illness prevention program.
The body of 52-year-old Cruz Urias-Beltran was found in the field on July 12, The Washington Times reported. A search had begun the evening before when he didn’t return from his work.
“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.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citation and penalties to respond.