On January 23rd, 2013

Taking Care of Business: California Labor Enforcement Task Force

Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are agents and investigators with the state of California are top notch and when they combine their resources, businesses that do not comply with the law get a huge wake-up call.

Last week the California Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), a multi-agency group formed to combat the underground economy,  brought two Southern California garment businesses to a screeching halt when it found dangerous equipment and possible labor law violations.

"Going after those who operate in the underground economy levels the playing field for businesses that do follow the law," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  "Ultimately, our CSLEA members on this task force are working to improve the state's business environment which in turn improves California's economy.  They're also  working to protect workers."

LETF includes investigators with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), Employment Development Department (EDD), Contractors State License Board (CSLB),  Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), to name a few.

LETF ordered the two businesses, Vinh Loi Inc. and Kinary Inc., to stop any work with equipment LRTF deemed to be dangerous until the equipment has appropriate safeguards in place.

In one business, investigators found an industrial fabric cutter with improper safeguards to the cutting blade as well as the belt and pulley.   In a second business, a denim washing business, investigators pulled from service nine of 11 industrial washers until safeguards in the belt and pulley workings are reinstalled.   Two of the same washers were not equipped with interlocks to prevent movement of the washer drums while the door is open.   A worker was crushed to death in July 2011 after falling into an open, operating washing machine with missing interlocks at another denim  washing shop in Los Angeles. 

Vinh Loi, Inc. is also under investigation by the Labor Commissioner's Office and the Employment Development Department for labor law issues including cash pay and overtime as well as possible payroll tax violations, according to a DIR new release.

"The underground economy hurts everyone," said Napoli Sams.  Sams is a  California Association of Regulatory Investigators and Inspectors (CARII) board director for the Contractor State License Board (CSLB).  CARII is an affiliate of CSLEA.  "Having a safe working environment is paramount.  The employers are required to carry workers comp insurance when they hire others to work as employees or independent contractors without proper workers comp coverage.  Workers comp will not prevent death or other injuries but proper safeguards on a job site will."

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