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Cal/OSHA fines San Quentin State Prison for violations in Covid-19 outbreak

Cal/OSHA fined San Quentin State Prison nearly $421,880 for its coronavirus outbreak, the largest fine the state’s workplace safety agency has levied for pandemic-related violations.

San Quentin was slapped with the fine after Cal/OSHA inspectors found that the prison’s staff did not have the proper training or protective equipment to interact with inmates and other staffers who had contracted Covid-19.

Cal/OSHA also found that staff who had been exposed to a coronavirus patient were not offered proper services like testing, contact tracing and medical referrals.

The agency said in a statement:

“Cal/OSHA issued citations for four willful-serious, five serious, one regulatory and four general category violations, including the employer’s failure to institute an effective aerosol transmissible diseases control exposure plan.”

The fine is consistent with a scathing report released Monday by the state’s Office of the Inspector General, which identified the transfer of 122 inmates from the California Institution for Men as the locus for the outbreak that eventually led to 2,240 coronavirus cases and 28 deaths among inmates at San Quentin.

The report also found the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Correctional Health Care Services, which oversees health care within the state prison system, improperly tested inmates before the transfer and cut corners to move medically vulnerable inmates out of the Chino facility by the end of May 2020.

Inspector General Roy Wesley said:

“Our review found that the efforts by CCHCS and the department to prepare for and execute the transfers were deeply flawed and risked the health and lives of thousands of incarcerated persons and staff.”

Cal/OSHA also issued five-figure citations for coronavirus-related safety violations to:

  • Kaiser Permanente medical centers in San Leandro, Antioch and Walnut Creek
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame
  • NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield
  • Fremont Healthcare Center
  • San Miguel Villa nursing home in Concord
  • Cardenas Market in Oakland
  • Carter’s Children’s Wear in Gilroy

Employees can file complaints about workplace safety and hazards at a Cal/OSHA district office or by calling (844) 522-6734.

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