The number of complaints about workplace violations of COVID-19 safety measures in Washington has soared in the weeks leading up to Gov. Jay Inslee’s renewed statewide lockdown.
The heightened safety restrictions, which went into effect in mid-November, are aimed at curbing a resurgent outbreak of coronavirus infections.
In October, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) received more than 1,300 complaints about businesses failing to enforce the state’s masking requirements and other rules outline in the Safe Start plan, which provides guidance for the phased reopening of businesses during the pandemic.
The number of new complaints tripled in the week leading up to L&I’s announcement of the latest statistics. L&I administers workers’ compensation claims for employees who are injured or fall ill on the job.
Most of the businesses L&I contacted based on complaints have avoided citations and fines by agreeing to follow the state’s pandemic safety requirements. The following businesses were cited and fined for not complying with the guidelines.
- Agate Store (Shelton) — The market was fined $7,500 for not enforcing employee or customer mask use and other non-COVID safety violations. The business has appealed.
- My Good Market #5082 (Lacey) — Fined $6,000 for not enforcing customer mask use, not taking employee temperatures. An appeal has not been received.
- Hwy 99 Tire Center LLC (Vancouver) — Fined $4,500 for not enforcing employee or customer mask use and lack of a written safety program. The business did not appeal.
- Skagit Arms (Burlington) — The firearm and ammunition store was fined $3,600 for not requiring employees or customers to wear masks and for violating social distancing rules. The business has 15 days to appeal.
- Hot Toddy’s Coffee (Spokane) — Fined $3,000 for employees not wearing masks or social distancing. Did not appeal.
- Hot Mama’s Espresso (Walla Walla) — Fined $2,400 for not enforcing the customer mask requirement and no signage posted requiring masks. The business has appealed.
- Second Wind Espresso Inc. #2 (Spokane) — Fined $1,800 for employees not wearing masks or social distancing. The business has appealed.
- The Ugly Duck Inc. (Spokane) — The building materials warehouse store was fined $1,200 for employees not wearing masks. Did not appeal.
- Red Carpet Car Wash (Sequim) — Fined $900 for employees not wearing masks. The business has appealed.
If your employer has exposed you to unsafe working conditions that led to a coronavirus infection, you may be entitled to workers’ comp or other benefits to cover the associated loss of income and medical costs.
Emery Reddy helps workers. Call us for a free consultation about your L&I, workers’ comp, injury and other employment litigation claim.