For immediate release
December 3, 2012
College Knocked for Sloppy Records, Failure to Document Safety Training
CLAREMONT, CALIF — Cal/OSHA has cited Pomona College for various alleged violations of the state code intended to prevent worker injuries, including failure to maintain documentation showing it trained employees on how to properly use industrial vacuum cleaners, computers, and how to lift heavy objects. The citation, issued at the end of November, comes six months after several Pomona dining hall workers filed a complaint with the agency in response to injuries they have sustained while working at Pomona. According to an analysis by UNITE HERE, dining hall workers at Pomona were injured at a rate exceeding the national average for cafeteria workers in 2010 and 2011.
Numerous Pomona College employees have been injured in the past several years. Elisea Mendoza, a cashier at Pomona for 18 years, hurt her hand while working in July 2009 and pain from her injuries has left her unable to work.
"I can’t wear long sleeves because of the pain," Mendoza said. "I can’t carry anything with my left hand."
The citation comes with proposed penalties of $1,780 and the college must remedy the alleged violations by December 17.
"I am happy the government is taking action to make our work safer. Working in Pomona’s dining halls is more hazardous than people think," said Pomona dining hall worker Rolando Araiza in response to CAL/OSHA’s citation.
In response to the citation, Pomona has pledged to provide training on the use of industrial vacuum cleaners, training on safely lifting and preventing back injuries, and ergonomics evaluations and trainings for dining services employees who are required to use a computer.
Pomona College dining hall workers have sought a fair process to decide whether to unionize with UNITE HERE. For more information on Pomona workers’ injuries and their request for a fair process to organize, please visit www.justiceatpomona.org.