BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Cal-OSHA has withdrawn an order that required a Lamont composting facility to keep workers away from the storm drain system where in October two brothers are believed to have inhaled lethal doses of toxic fumes.
In a letter dated Jan. 6 but not disclosed publicly until this week, the agency said it has approved a safety plan submitted by the facility's operator, Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Inc.
The letter canceled a requirement from early November that employees and contractors stay at least 6 feet away from openings to the drain system. But the letter also called for new measures, including warning signs and safety training for workers and contractors. It also warned of unannounced "spot checks" by the agency to confirm Community Recycling's compliance, as well as an order that the company notify Cal-OSHA at least 72 hours before any cleaning of the drain system.
The agency continues to investigate the brothers' deaths.
In November, Cal-OSHA officials found the company to be in violation of the order that established the 6 foot perimeter, saying the company had hired a vacuum truck service that came too close to the openings while cleaning out the drains.
That violation was among various factors cited by the county Board of Supervisors when it voted at a Nov. 15 hearing to revoke Community Recycling's operating permit. A Kern County Superior Court judge has since issued a temporary stay on the board's action while the company appeals the revocation in court.