A Florida labor contractor was cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an immigrant farm worker died from an apparent work-related heat illness.
OSHA announced Wednesday that it cited Okeechobee-based Rafael Barajas, the labor contractor who had employed the farm worker, with a serious violation for exposing workers to hazards associated with high ambient heat while working in direct sunlight.
The worker, who had just arrived in the United States on December 31, 2022, on a work visa from Mexico, died the following day while working at CW Hendrix Farms in Parkland.
He was found unresponsive in a shallow drainage ditch after complaining of fatigue and leg pain during a day when the heat index hovered near 90 degrees.
The contractor, which was assessed proposed penalties of $15,625, has 15 business days to contest the fine and citation.
Mr. Barajas was cited after OSHA inspectors said he failed to provide workers with adequate water, shade and rest breaks.