Illinois Distribution Warehouse Cited for Virus Exposures; Fined $12K

A few days after employees at Midwest Warehouse and Distribution System Inc. gathered in its Naperville, Ill., facility breakroom for a luncheon, some workers experienced symptoms consistent with coronavirus exposure. Employees began reporting to the company that they had tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 27, 2020.

A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation alleges the company failed to take immediate steps to identify, inform, isolate and quarantine all potentially exposed employees.

By Nov. 9, 2020, 23 employees tested positive for the coronavirus, including one worker who died from complications on Nov. 4, 2020.

OSHA’s inspection found the company failed to follow its own internally developed controls for potential coronavirus exposure or take immediate steps to contain the outbreak. On Nov. 4, 2020, following discussions with the DuPage County Health Department, the facility closed.

The agency has proposed a penalty of $12,288 for one serious violation of OSHA’s general duty clause.

Based in Woodridge, Midwest Warehouse and Distribution System is a full-service logistics company servicing grocery, liquor and beverage, electronics, automotive and other industries. The company operates 15 warehouses nationwide.

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.

This article was first published in Insurance Journal.

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