Press Release Provided by Western Growers
In response to the decision of the Superior Court to deny motions for preliminary injunctions restraining the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board from enforcing the Emergency Temporary Standards, a coalition of agricultural and business groups issued the following statement:
“The health and safety of farm and ranch employees is the top priority for agricultural employers. Throughout California, farmers and ranchers have adapted their operations to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition, agricultural organizations have advocated with local, state, and federal elected officials and agencies to prioritize access to vaccines for farm and ranch employees; individual farms and agricultural businesses have sponsored vaccination clinics, with more already scheduled.
“The court’s decision only complicates the ongoing work by family farms and other essential businesses to maintain safe, plentiful food supplies in the wake of COVID-19. The Cal/OSHA Board failed to justify the need for emergency intervention, despite their own staff report that the emergency standards were not necessary to protect employee health.
“With this decision, the court failed to properly exercise its oversight on this critically important issue, and we are now exploring our legal options to ensure the safe and timely delivery of food and essential services to all Californians. In the meantime, we will work with Cal/OSHA to assure the agency better understands the essential businesses and agricultural operations it regulates, and to inject practicality into the Emergency Temporary Standards as it develops forthcoming policies and guidance.”