News Release
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313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806  |  Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  (213) 240-8144  |

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For Immediate Release:

April 28, 2021

LA County Launches Public Health Councils Initiative in Industries Highly Impacted by COVID-19

In a motion by Supervisor Sheila J. Kuehl and former Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas late last fall, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) to implement the Public Health Councils initiative to protect workers that have been highly impacted by COVID-19.

Public Health recently launched the Public Health Councils initiative and in collaboration with the Liberty Hill Foundation, UCLA Labor Occupation Safety and Health Program, and the Southern California Coalition for Safety and Health, is partnering and training ten community-based organizations to provide outreach, engagement, and technical assistance to workers in the following sectors: food manufacturing, apparel manufacturing, warehousing and storage, restaurants, and grocery stores and supermarkets.

The initiative supports workers form “Public Health Councils” to help ensure that employees in hard hit industries are protected by Los Angeles County Health Officer Orders. Public Health Councils are comprised of workers that conduct peer-to-peer education with their co-workers regarding required safety measures and worksite compliance. The initiative also includes educational outreach to employers in these sectors regarding required infection control measures issued through Health Officer Orders. Support for this initiative comes from the County of Los Angeles and several private foundations.

“The launch of our Public Health Councils as well as the County’s new anti-retaliation ordinance send a very strong message that the County is serious about workplace safety and protecting employees who identify potential health order violations. While this new program, the first of its kind in the country, emerged from the pandemic, its importance will be felt long, long after the pandemic has subsided, reassuring every employee in LA County that they will be safe at work,” said Supervisor Sheila J. Kuehl.

“It is unjust that essential workers in low-paid sectors have borne a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “The death rate for people living in under-resourced communities is more than three times higher than for people living in higher income areas. This novel program helps support our efforts to protect essential workers and to create a more equitable and just LA County.”

Communities of color are particularly vulnerable when there is a lack of workplace compliance, and exposures at worksites contribute to significant inequities in health outcomes. In order to reduce rates of community transmission, businesses, particularly those newly re-opening or expanding capacity, will need to attend to all the County’s Health Officer Orders including masking, distancing, and infection control.

“Protection of workers through workplace compliance with public health requirements is critical to reduce COVID transmissions in Los Angeles County, particularly with the relaxing of many restrictions. We know many employers and employees are united in their desire to protect workers and customers, keep communities safe, and continue our recovery journey,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “With support from trusted organizations including workers’ centers and community-based organizations, workers can form Public Health Councils to improve COVID safety on the job and keep themselves and their families safe.”

April 28 is the 50th anniversary of Workers Memorial Day, an annual event where communities come together to remember those who have suffered or lost their lives on the job. Sadly, we have seen the number of work-related deaths and illness increase over the past year due to COVID-19. Through the Public Health Councils initiative, the County is investing in the health and wellbeing of workers, and honoring the sacrifices made by some of our hardest hit communities which can help workers feel safe and more protected on the job.

"It's important that workers feel safe and are protected. When the team is happy and they work in a great environment, everyone wins and businesses make a profit,” said Lazaro Martinez Jr., an employer with TMG Cut & Sew in Los Angeles.

The ten partners organizations include: Filipino Migrant Center, Garment Worker Center, Hospitality Training Academy, Icaza Foundation, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Restaurant Opportunities Center-LA, Pilipino Workers Center, Thai Community Development Corporation, and Warehouse Workers Resource Center. Initial training for these partners began in March and education and outreach efforts are underway.

The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at,, and