Cal OSHA, County Supervisors To Meet About Recycling Plant Deaths

Officials To Brief Supervisors On Death Investigation

Kern County Supervisors are asking for an update on the investigation into two worker deaths near Arvin. The supervisors want to know if they need to shut down the facility while Cal OSHA investigates.

There have been numerous calls to close down Community Recycling since two workers died there a week and a half ago. The county supervisors do have the authority to shut it down if there is good reason. So they are asking Cal OSHA for an update on the investigation.

On Oct 12, 16-year-old Armando Ramirez and his 22-year-old brother Eladio were killed after sucking in deadly gas while cleaning a drainage system at Community Recycling near Arvin.

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  • “I am very, very concerned about the tragedy that has occurred in our community," said 5th District County Supervisor Karen Goh.

    Cal OSHA is investigating the deaths along with state and federal labor agencies. But some, including State Sen. Michael Rubio, are calling on county supervisors to close the facility until the investigation is complete.

    "Unfortunately there is going to be some time that is required on the investigation, so our immediate concern is to make sure that employees are safe," Goh said.

    County Supervisor Zack Scrivner is urging Cal OSHA to speed up their investigation so supervisors will have the evidence they say they need to take action against community recycling.

    "I refuse to get embroiled in any of the politics, if there are any. My focus is on employee’s safety," Goh said.

    Tuesday, Cal OSHA officials will brief county supervisors at their public board meeting.

    “To give us an update on any immediate threats to employee’s safety, and then just to give us an update on the investigation," Goh said.

    Cal OSHA has ordered community recycling to stop sending workers into the pipe where the men died until the hazard can be eliminated.

    But county supervisors want to be sure workers aren’t in any danger.

    "If we were to find specific evidence of a threat to imminent public safety, that might cause us to take action," Goh said.

    23ABC spoke to a Cal OSHA spokesperson Monday. They say there is nothing new to report on the investigation and it could be several more months before their investigation is complete.

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