State alleges LA County court system violated COVID-19 safety rules

State workplace safety officials plan to fine the Los Angeles County Superior Court system more than $25,000 for alleged violations involving the COVID-19 pandemic.

The system shut down all but the most essential services in early 2020 but resumed many in-person proceedings in the final months of the year. About 16 interpreters were exposed to COVID-19 and one died in January 2021, followed by two other court employees that month and another interpreter in February.

The California Division of Occupational Health and Safety, known as Cal/OSHA, found three violations, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

One alleged that the court failed to immediately notify Cal/OSHA that an employee was seriously ill and hospitalized with COVID-19 in early January.

Cal/OSHA also alleged the court failed to implement an effective illness and injury prevention program and correct unhealthy practices, including a lack of COVID-19 prevention training to interpreters.

The third violation alleged a failure to ensure physical distancing in the interpreters’ lounge.

Ann E. Donlan, the court’s communications director, disputed the alleged violations.

“The court will be appealing these alleged violations because we do not believe Cal/OSHA has complete information,” Donlan said in a statement.

Courts aren’t completely closed, and they’re ripe for COVID-19 spread, attorneys say

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