Saturday, April 22, 2017

Worker with Laguna Farms died from blunt-force head injuries after his body was found underneath irrigation equipment he'd been towing with a tractor in Ventura Co., CA

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office identified on Friday a worker who was killed in a Somis farming accident a day earlier as Jose Lopez Lopez, 27, of Oxnard.

Lopez died from blunt-force head injuries in the accident, the agency said.

Lopez's death was reported to authorities just after 9 a.m. Thursday at a berry farm in the 1000 block of West La Loma Avenue after his body was found underneath irrigation equipment he'd been towing with a tractor.

Ventura County Fire Department paramedics pronounced Lopez dead at the scene, said Steve Swindle, a spokesman for the department.

Lopez's employer, Laguna Farms, held a memorial service for him at its Somis location Friday afternoon, said Mari Escamilla, a marketing specialist and spokeswoman for the company.

Laguna Farms grows berries and operates more than 13 sites in Ventura County. It was founded in January 1981, according to the company's Facebook page.

The company said Friday that it is respecting his family's privacy to mourn during this difficult time. It also said Lopez's death was a loss to the entire company and that it "will continue to reach out to the family as the days progress."

Swindle said the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health had been notified of the incident.

Paola Laverde, a spokeswoman for Cal/OSHA in Oakland, said on Friday that investigations by the agency into workplace-related accidents and deaths typically take up to four months to complete.

Cal/OSHA performs "a thorough review of the workplace's safety plans and hazards, as well as records of workplace safety training, equipment, maintenance and other things," Laverde said.

Inspectors fined Laguna Farms $325 earlier this year for failing to keep a complete log of work-related injuries and illnesses, known as a Form 300, Laverde said. The company also was cited and fined another $325 for failing to provide workers with shade once the temperature reaches 80 degrees or more, something Laverde said the company had voluntarily agreed to do earlier.