FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-74
December 23, 2008

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Erika Monterroza
415-703-5050

Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


Cal/OSHA Cites Los Angeles Carwash Businesses for Unsafe Practices

Los Angeles—Cal/OSHA investigators this month issued $25,085 in citations for safety and health violations at two Los Angeles Carwash businesses. The companies, Vermont Carwash and Hollywood Carwash were inspected on July 28, 2008 after the Los Angeles Cal/OSHA office received complaints filed by the Southern California Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health on behalf of the employees working at the businesses.    

“Carwashes and other operations using energized machinery and hazardous chemicals have specific requirements they must meet to control exposure and prevent accidents,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh. “Serious injuries or even fatal accidents can be caused by this kind of work if employers fail to protect employees from the types of hazards we found.”

The inspections revealed serious and general violations at both locations. Serious safety hazards found included:

Other violations included the failure to provide heat illness prevention training and no written hazard communication plan, a must for businesses that work with hazardous chemicals.

In 2003, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1688 establishing a registration system for all carwash and car polishing businesses. Known as the Car Wash Worker Law under Labor Code sections 2050 – 2067, the law protects the wellbeing of employees in the industry.

Under the California Labor Code, carwash businesses are also required to register with the Labor Commissioner’s office and follow the labor laws that govern all employers in the state. As of December 11, 828 carwash registrations were issued this year, an increase of 35% over registrations in 2007.

The Labor Commissioner’s Bureau of Field Enforcement as well as the Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition have actively conducted inspections in the carwash industry statewide to seek compliance of the law. In 2008, 557 carwashes inspected statewide with the top violations being a failure to register and a failure to have workers’ compensation insurance. These enforcement actions resulted in 503 citations being issued to employers in the carwash industry totaling $3,742,472 in penalties.

Other actions this year in the carwash industry include lawsuits filed against car washes which continued to operate illegally after being cited for not being registered.  As a result the business came into compliance by paying the penalties and registering. The Labor Commissioner also negotiated a $450,000 settlement of a lawsuit on behalf of 60 workers of Hollywood Rivera Carwash in Redondo Beach.  

The Labor Commissioner’s office adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders.

Cal/OSHA conducts inspections of California workplaces based on worker complaints, accident reports and high hazard industries. To report a workplace accident, or to file a complaint, contact the Cal/OSHA enforcement unit district office closest to the workplace where the accident occurred or the complaint conditions exist. You can find the nearest office on our web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/DistrictOffices.htm.

For more information on the functions of Cal/OSHA or the California Labor Commissioner, visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov. Employees that have work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.

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