A lawsuit filed today accuses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of failing to meet its mission during the Covid-19 global pandemic. The lawsuit, brought by meatpacking workers in Pennsylvania, claims OSHA failed to protect the workers from what they claimed is a hazardous working environment. Meatpacking plants across the country have been hotbeds of coronavirus outbreaks throughout the crisis. OSHA insists that existing regulations and Covid-19 guidelines are capable of keeping workers safe.
Back in May, the meatpacking workers filed a complaint with OSHA against their employer, Maid-Rite Specialty Foods. In this complaint, the workers accused the company of not providing protective gear, creating physical distancing for workers on the processing line, not separating employees who were sick, failing to inform employees who worked closely with infected coworkers, and creating incentives for employees who worked while sick. The new lawsuit accuses OSHA of an inadequate response to the May complaint.
After receiving the complaint, OSHA requested that the company investigate and document the concerns and implement corrections, but also made it clear that it would not be inspecting the plant. The new lawsuit alleges that the issues with the original complaint still exist.
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Similar lawsuits recently filed against OSHA during the pandemic have been dismissed in court, but the concerns over OSHA and worker safety remain. Workplace safety, especially related to preventing the spread of coronavirus, has come into focus during the pandemic. In California, from May 6 to July 5, any worker who worked on site and was diagnosed with Covid-19 was eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Since the expiration of the order, Covid-19 has continued to spread across the state. It is unknown if the order will be extended or renewed, but the possible lack of workers’ compensation related to a Covid-19 diagnosis only highlights further the importance of providing proper worker safety oversight.
Any injury that occurs while working in California is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps injured workers pursue those benefits. If you’ve been injured at work, call 888-517-9888 today for a free consultation.