FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Two law firms have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the United Farm Workers of America and individual farmworkers, alleging California regulators aren’t enforcing heat regulations.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, alleges that the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health didn’t conduct inspections in response to some heat complaints, didn’t initiate inspections on time, and failed to cite or fine violators.
At least 14 farmworkers have died of heat illness since 2005. That’s when California adopted the nation’s first rules requiring shade and water for its 450,000 farmworkers.
Four deaths this summer are being investigated.
The agency didn’t immediately respond to the lawsuit. It said in a past statement that it “investigates all complaints relating to heat illness” and issues citations when inspectors find violations.