U.S. Department of Labor Cites Tax Preparation Service for COVID-19 Unsafe Work Environment
A Boston company owner faces high charges for not allowing employees or customers to wear masks or social distance.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Apr 15, 2021
A tax preparation service owner in Lynn, MA was fined $136,000 for prohibiting her employees as well as customers from wearing masks on the job and social distancing. Ariana Murrell-Rosario also refused to implement other precautions in protection against COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA cited Murrell-Rosario for “willfully failing to develop and implement measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.” OSHA opened an investigation on March 17, 2021 for an inspection after a referral from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, according to a press release.
Besides prohibiting masks and social distancing, OSHA found that Murrell-Rosario and Liberty Tax Services did not provide adequate ventilation, as well as failed to provide pre-shift screening for employees, physical barriers and cleaning to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
"This employer's willful refusal to implement basic safeguards places her employees at an increased risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus," said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. "Stopping the spread of this virus requires business' support in implementing COVID-19 Prevention Programs, and ensuring that staff and customers wear face coverings and maintain physical distance from each other."
The company has 15 days from its receipt of citations to comply or request an informal conference with the OSHA area director to contest the findings before the Independent Commission.
OSHA created a National Emphasis Program focusing on companies with a large number of workers who are at serious risk of contracting the disease and strategies for change.
You can read more about the spread of COVID-19 here.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.