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California farmworker dies from heat injury on the job

Etchegaray Farms LLC has been shut down by California workplace safety officials. The reason has to do with a farmworker who died from a heat injury on the job on July 5. According to reports, the temperature in McFarland where the farm is located reached a scorching 106 degrees that day.

On that day, the farmworker and his brother were working out in the lemon orchard inspecting the irrigation equipment. At some point, the farmworker collapsed. His brother was not able to get cell phone reception where they were and had to run three miles in order to get some help for his brother. Unfortunately, paramedics were only able to confirm that the man was dead by the time they got to him.

The farm reportedly failed to provide workers with shade and water in the heat as is required by an order from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Therefore, the farm has been told to stop all outdoor work until the farm is in compliance with that order. The coroner has not yet announced a cause of death for the farmworker.

In the meantime, the man’s family is left to deal with the sudden loss of their loved one to an injury on the job. The victim’s family may be entitled to survivors benefits under our state’s workers’ compensation system. However, the family may also be able to file a wrongful death claim as well. Every outdoor worker in our state has certain rights when it comes to being exposed to the elements. In the heat of summer, an employer is obligated to provide employees with shade and water at a minimum.

Source:, “Cal/OSHA stops outdoor worksite operations at Etchegaray Farms LLC,” July 9, 2013