U.S. Department of Labor cites Tax Preparation Service for COVID-19 Unsafe Work Environment
A Boston business owner has to pay heavy fees for prohibiting employees or customers from wearing masks or social distancing.
A tax preparation agent in Lynn, MA, was fined $ 136,000 for forbidding her employees and clients from wearing masks and social distancing at work. Ariana Murrell-Rosario also refused to take other precautions to protect against COVID-19.
The US Department of Labor’s OSHA quoted Murrell-Rosario as saying that he “deliberately failed to develop and implement any measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus”. According to a press release, OSHA opened an investigation for inspection on March 17, 2021 following a referral from the Executive Bureau for Labor and Human Resources Development.
In addition to banning masks and social distancing, OSHA noted that Murrell-Rosario and Liberty Tax Services did not provide adequate ventilation or provide employee health screening, physical barriers, and cleaning to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
“This employer’s willful refusal to take basic security precautions puts their employees at increased risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus,” said OSHA regional administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. “To stop the spread of this virus, the company needs support in implementing COVID-19 prevention programs and ensuring that employees and customers wear face covers and keep physical distances from one another.”
The company has 15 days after receiving the quotes to hold or request an informal conference with the OSHA area manager to challenge the results before the independent commission. OSHA has launched a national priority program that focuses on companies with large numbers of workers at serious risk of developing the disease and strategies for change.
Further information on the spread of COVID-19 can be found here.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.