By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Wasco State Prison fined for covid-19 violations

 

February 11, 2021 | View PDF



Wasco State Prison was fined $16,360 for the way it handled its employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cal/OSHA fined several California prisons over the issue of employees and the coronavirus in the workplace.

The state website reported that the prison was fined for three violations, including two serious infractions. The website also states that the prison did not have an adequate plan in place to protect workers from viruses transmitted through the air.

“They also did not fit employees properly for face masks requiring a filter,” the report stated.

California State Prison, Corcoran, and Avenal State Prison were also cited for similar violations.

Even though the fines were issued Nov. 23, 2020, the report was published this month.

Joshua Farley, correctional lieutenant, administrative assistant/public information office from Wasco State Prison, replied to a request for a comment on the fine by stating that Wasco State Prison has made many improvements and has remedied the Cal/OSHA citations in the months since the visit. He added that Wasco State Prison continues to work with public health and workplace safety experts to ensure regulations are met and concerns addressed as quickly as possible.


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“Cal-OSHA inspections at WSP took place between May 7, 2020 and Nov. 11, 2020 and on Dec. 14, 2020, California Correctional Health Care Services, which is overseen by the court-appointed Federal Receiver, provided Cal-OSHA with evidence that WSP had addressed their concerns,” Farley said. “WSP made several amendments and revisions to its Aerosol Transmissible Disease Exposure Control Plan, including identification that employees in all job classifications are subject to mask fit-testing, standardized definitions of high hazard procedures, and identification of which personal protective equipment is appropriate for use in each situation within the healthcare workplace.”

Farley added that the plan identifies procedures for handling employee exposures as identified by the California Correctional Health Care Services Public Health Nurse/Infection Control Nurse and investigated by the Employee Health Program dedicated to covid-19 cases.

“If an employee is removed from the workplace, they receive paid time off in accordance with California Department of Human Resources regulations,” Farley said.

He also said that the staff is informed daily by the prison about the existence/location of confirmed or suspected cases.

“We will continue to work with public health, health care and workplace safety experts to improve processes throughout the pandemic, as our top priority is to keep all those who live and work in our state prisons safe,” Farley concluded.

 

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