Two Southern California garment businesses have been ordered to stop any work with dangerous equipment until the employers can ensure the equipment has the appropriate safeguards, the state Labor Enforcement Task Force says.
The task force is a multi-agency group formed to combat the underground economy.
The Central Valley Business Times reports that Vinh Loi Inc., a garment contractor with 26 workers employed at two locations in El Monte, had an industrial fabric cutter with improper safeguards to the cutting blade as well as the belt and pulley, the state says.
Kinary Inc., an El Monte denim washing business that employs 22 workers to dye and stone-wash jeans and other garments, had nine of its eleven industrial washers removed from service by Cal/OSHA until the proper safeguards in the belt and pulley workings on the washers are reinstalled, says the task force. Two of the same washers were not equipped with interlocks to prevent movement of the washer drums while the door is open, it says.
A worker was crushed to death in July 2011 after falling into an open, operating washing machine with missing interlocks at another denim washing shop in Los Angeles.
“Employers are required to ensure that their equipment is safe for workers to operate,” says Department of Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker, who oversees the task force. “When industrial machinery does not have the proper safeguards, workers can be killed or suffer serious injuries including amputation.”
Vinh Loi, Inc. is also under investigation by the Labor Commissioner’s Office and the Employment Development Department for labor law issues including cash pay and overtime as well as possible payroll tax violations. The state agencies have served notice of a pending audit to further investigate the business.
The task force includes investigators with the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and Cal/OSHA, as well as the Employment Development Department, Contractors State License Board, the Board of Equalization, Alcohol and Beverage Control and the Bureau of Automotive Repair.