Permit Revocation, Citations Could Loom For Community Recycling

Cal OSHA Updates County Supervisors On Investigation

The South County recycling facility where two workers died will likely be cited and could lose its land-use permit. Those were the headlines to come out of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The chief of Cal OSHA briefed the county supervisors on their investigation. And workers from Community Recycling urged supervisors not to shut the facility down.

It seems clear both the state and the county will likely be handing out consequences to the owners of community recycling.

Cal OSHA has been looking into the composting facility since two workers died there Oct. 12. Armando Ramirez, 16, and his 22-year-old brother Eladio both died after breathing in deadly gas while cleaning a drainage system. The update on the Cal OSHA investigation into Community Recycling didn’t have a lot of new information.

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  • "At this point we have deemed the drainage system unsafe for workers, and it poses an imminent hazard to workers. We have shut that down so that no workers can work related to that, and we are now investigating all other operations," said Cal OSHA Chief Ellen Widess.

    But Cal OSHA’s chief indicated citations will likely be handed down.

    "Once the citations, which I assume will be issued, are issued, those will be public record," Widess said.

    There also appears to be increased scrutiny of the facility’s conditional use permit. Supervisor Mike Maggard says the design of the drainage system where the men died may not have been approved by the county before it was built.

    "I honestly feel that the violations are serious enough that the board should have a hearing to consider those violations and any recommendations that come from our staff," said district 2 Supervisor Zack Scrivner.

    Supervisor’s scheduled a meeting for Nov. 15 where they could revoke community recycling permit.

    "The full weight of responsibility whoever was responsible for putting those employees in a position that could have resulted in this," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Maggard.

    Workers from Community Recycling also spoke. They urged supervisors not to shut down the facility and put them out of a job.

    “During those 11 years I have never seen an accident like the one that just happened,” employee Mario Lopez said through an interpreter.

    “I would like to continue working; we need it," said employee Jose Lara, through an interpreter.

    Community Recycling’s attorney was also at the hearing. He said the company is saddened by the deaths and will not comment further until the investigation is complete.

    Cal OSHA is asking anyone with information about unsafe working conditions at Community Recycling to give the agency a call at 559-445-5302.

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