The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited an auto parts manufacturer in Missouri for failing to implement or enforce COVID-19 protections following an employee's death from the virus.
In late August 2020, two machine operators at the employer's facility in Grandview, Missouri tested positive for COVID-19 only days apart. They operated a press together and frequently worked for hours at a time less than two feet apart without consistently wearing face masks.
Ten days later, two more workers who jointly operated a press also tested positive for COVID-19. On Sept. 19, 2020, one of the press operators who tested positive died. Two additional employees also tested positive.
OSHA conducted an investigation, during which OSHA's Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing determined, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the employee who died contracted COVID-19 on the job.
According to OSHA's Kansas City Area Director, the employer "failed to fully implement and enforce the use of feasible controls for employees to prevent the spread of coronavirus," including by not requiring the use of face masks and social distancing until after the employee's death.
OSHA cited the employer with one serious and one other-than-serious violation for failing to maintain safe working conditions under OSHA's general duty clause. The proposed penalties total $15,604.
The organization has 15 business days to comply with the citation and penalties; request an informal conference with OSHA's area director; or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. "OSHA Cites Missouri Auto Parts Manufacturer For Failing To Implement, Enforce Coronavirus Protections As Exposure Leads To Press Operator's Death" dol.gov (Feb. 23, 2021).