Illinois Warehouse Cited for $12K After Workplace COVID-19 Exposures & 1 Death
In fall 2020, workers gathered in the company breakroom for a luncheon. By October 27, workers began testing positive for COVID-19. The facility continued operations until November 4, when the worksite was shut down at the recommendation of the County Health Department.
Subsequent inspections allegedly revealed one serious violation of the OSH Act General Duty Clause, requiring employers to address all health and safety hazards in the workplace, which includes infectious diseases. OSHA says the company also allegedly failed to follow its own internally developed infectious disease controls or take immediate steps to identify, inform, isolate, and quarantine all potentially exposed employees.
OSHA proposed a $12,288 citation. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA’s Emergency COVID-19 Rule Submitted for ApprovalOSHA delivered its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval at the end of April 2021.
The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) will likely move through this process faster than most new OSHA rules. If approved, the Final Rule may appear in the Federal Register within weeks.
Warehouses Prioritized Under New NEP COVID-19 Inspection ProgramOn March 12, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect high-risk workers from hazards related to COVID-19 exposure. The program expands on OSHA's existing inspection efforts to prioritize companies with the highest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the virus.
The NEP adds programmed inspections for certain healthcare and general industry worksites in “Essential Critical Infrastructure.”
These are a few of the primary targeted facilities for programmed inspections:
- General warehousing and storage sites
- Meat/poultry processing plants
- Animal slaughtering services (excluding poultry)
- Home healthcare services
- Assisted living facilities
COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online TrainingTo help US workplaces safely resume and continue operations, Lion launched the COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course. The course is designed to help satisfy training mandates for employees concerning COVID-19.
The course prepares employees to:
- Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors for COVID-19.
- Describe how the COVID-19 disease is transmitted.
- Follow recommended hygiene and work protocols to prevent exposure.
- Properly use and care for PPE and face coverings, when required.
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