Two workers at a Midwestern manufacturing plant contracted the coronavirus after working within two feet of each other while not consistently wearing face masks—and one of them died, OSHA said.

Peterson Manufacturing of Grandview, Mo., faces $15,604 in penalties for one serious and one other-than-serious violation, OSHA said.

Peterson Manufacturing, operating as Maxi-Seal Harness Systems Inc., was cited under OSHA’s general duty clause for failing to maintain safe working conditions.

“As part of the investigation, OSHA’s Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing determined, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the deceased employee contracted the virus while on the job,” the agency said in a release.

At least six workers at the plant tested positive for the virus, OSHA said.

The two sickened workers who were in close proximity to one another were machine operators who ran a press.

Protocols Ignored

OSHA said the two “typically labored for one at a time less than two feet apart; neither wore a protective facial mask consistently.”

The two fell ill in August 2020, within days of each other.

Ten days later, two more workers operating similar presses together tested positive.

“Maxi-Seal Harness Systems failed to fully implement and enforce the use of feasible controls for employees to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City.

OSHA has established coronavirus guidelines and resources for keeping workers safe and healthy on the job.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).