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2.16.2022

Employee Complaints About COVID-19 Safety Protocols are Triggering OSHA Investigations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published data to reflect the aggregate complaint, referral, and inspection counts of COVID-19-related cases. The data shows employee complaints involving COVID-19 safety matters are the top trigger for OSHA investigations.

OSHA Cites National Company

A national auto insurance company is facing more than $23,000 in proposed penalties after the OSHA investigators found that a Colorado branch ignored pandemic-related safety rules and "needlessly exposed" employees to co-workers with COVID-19 symptoms, according to OSHA. The company failed to safely distance employees and allowed Covid symptomatic workers to remain on site. "This company showed an indifference toward the safety and well-being of its employees, including one who fell victim to the coronavirus," said OSHA Denver Area Director Amanda Kupper.

COVID-19 Related Violations

According to the agency, OSHA has issued about 650 coronavirus-related citations since July 2020, with total initial penalties exceeding $4 million as of February 11, 2022.

Takeaway: Employers should ensure they are following the Executive Orders regarding masking requirements and vaccines, as well as the OSHA mandates. A previously published Employment Law Update outlines the guidance, “Updated OSHA Workplace Safety Guidelines Creates Opportunity for Employers to Update COVID-19 Policies and Procedures.” If you have questions regarding the OSHA safety protocols for COVID-19 or any other employment laws, contact Tracy Armstrong or another member of the Wilentz Employment Law Team.

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