OSHA cites Missouri auto parts manufacturer for failing to implement, enforce coronavirus protections as exposure leads to press operator’s death
GRANDVIEW, MO – Two machine operators at a Grandview auto parts manufacturer who jointly operated a press tested positive for the coronavirus just two days apart, in late August 2020. 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.
In an investigation that followed, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Peterson Manufacturing – operating as Maxi-Seal Harness Systems Inc. – under OSHA’s 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.
“Maxi-Seal Harness Systems failed to fully implement and enforce the use of feasible controls for employees to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City. “We found that the company failed to implement use of face masks and social distancing properly throughout the workplace until after the death of an employee.”
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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.