July 2021 Enforcement

Biotech manufacturer cited for failing to protect workers from coronavirus

New Jersey

An Eatontown manufacturer failed to protect employees adequately from workplace exposure to coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined, after an investigation into the deaths of two workers and the hospitalization of two others who contracted the coronavirus in the fall of 2020.

OSHA’s inspection found that Avantor Fluid Handling LLC failed to ensure physical distancing and that employees wore face masks in common areas. The agency cited the company for violating OSHA’s general duty clause that requires employers to ensure workplaces are free of recognized hazards that may cause death or serious physical harm.

In November 2020, four company employees tested positive for the coronavirus and required hospitalization. By January 2021, two of the workers – a husband and wife – died due to complications related to the virus. The other workers recovered. In total, 30 out of 50 employees at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus.

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