San Bernardino, CA
Last week, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos announced one of the state’s largest recyclers, rePlanet LLC, was found guilty and convicted in the death of its employee, Salvador Garcia.
Garcia, a sixty-one-year-old resident of Rialto was crushed to death at the company’s Rancho Cucamonga facility by a 35,000-pound earth mover. rePlanet LLC (rePlanet) recently reached a criminal plea agreement with the District Attorney to two misdemeanor violations of Labor Code §6425.
An official complaint filed against rePlanet in July, alleged the company had willfully violated worker safety rules and those violations had resulted in Garcia’s death. The complaint was jointly investigated by the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit of San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and Cal-OSHA's Bureau of Investigations.
According to San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Douglas Poston who prosecuted the case, "The plea agreement was made only after rePlanet overhauled their site and work practices in an effort to minimize the risk that a tragedy like this will happen again."
Also according to Poston, the company’s subsequent equipment upgrades, traffic controls, and safety personnel have cost rePlanet well over a million dollars—costs incurred in addition to the fines and payments in this case.
The plea agreement placed rePlanet on probation for three years and required the company to compensate the Garcia family $500,000 in restitution. The agreement also levied a $400,000 fine against the company that could be stayed pending its successful completion of probation; as well as a $21,000 fine it paid directly to the court.
In lieu of additional fines, rePlanet also agreed to pay the California District Attorneys Association Worker Safety Training Fund $140,000.00 and nearly $90,000.00 to Cal- OSHA—these monies will be used to cover agency fines and training costs.