Federal workplace safety officials have cited a Missouri-based auto parts manufacturer for failing to maintain safe workplace conditions after worker tested positive for coronavirus and subsequently died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Two machine operators at Grandview-based Peterson Manufacturing – operating as Maxi-Seal Harness Systems Inc. – who jointly operated a press tested positive for the coronavirus just two days apart, in late August 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The two workers typically labored for hours at a time less than two feet apart; neither wore a protective facial mask consistently. Ten days later, two more workers operating similar presses together tested positive. On Sept. 19, 2020, one of the press operators fell victim to the virus and died.
OSHA cited the company under its general duty clause for failing to maintain safe working conditions. At least six employees of the Grandview plant have tested positive for the virus.
The company faces one serious and one other-than-serious violation, and proposed penalties totaling $15,604. As part of the investigation, OSHA’s Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing determined, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the deceased employee contracted the virus while on the job.
OSHA has established coronavirus guidelines and resources for keeping workers safe and healthy on the job.
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.
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