US Department of Labor finds Midwest trailer sales company failed to ensure workers followed measures to prevent COVID-19 spread
CALEDONIA, WI – Responding to a complaint alleging coronavirus hazards, federal workplace safety and health inspectors found a Caledonia company failed to protect workers from the virus’ dangers.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected the facility on May 18 and found that a 49-year-old dispatcher died from the virus on April 27 and that 11 out of 38 employees of Amston Supply Inc. tested positive for COVID-19 from April 12 to May 18. The dispatcher worked for the company approximately a month when he died.
OSHA determined the company, operating as Amston Trailer Sales, allowed workers to congregate closely and without face coverings in offices, the parts and services department, maintenance areas, and kitchen – despite their own company policy requiring employees to screen, wear masks, and maintain social distancing when possible to prevent coronavirus infection.
OSHA cited Amston for a serious general duty clause violation and proposed $9,557 in penalties.
“Failure to protect workers from the hazards related to coronavirus infection can have serious consequences,” said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Milwaukee. “Simply having a policy is not enough – employers are obligated to make sure preventive measures are actually being followed in order to protect their employees.”
Founded in 1979, Amston Trailer Sales began as an equipment leasing company and is now one of the Midwest’s largest trailer dealers. Operating in Caledonia and in Lebanon, Indiana, the company specializes in trailer sales, leasing, parts and service.
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.