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The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Wednesday released its annual report on employers nationwide whose alleged unsafe working conditions have led to deaths or serious injuries, with COVID-19 safety lapses now on its radar.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified 1,945 workplace deaths from COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, National COSH said in its report that the number is likely higher, citing a rise in U.S. deaths since 2020.
OSHA’s tally “is just a tiny fraction of the more than 494,000 working-age Americans, between 18 and 64, who died from the disease during roughly the same time period,” the report states.
Amazon Inc., which made the list in 2019 and 2020, was named again, as National COSH noted a pattern of worker deaths at its warehouses.
Other national companies named to the list for allegedly lax COVID-19 safety protocols were Starbucks Corp. and Refresco Beverages US Inc., which National COSH said violated safe distancing and personal protective equipment rules.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Dollar General Corp. were named for allegedly unsafe working conditions. National COSH alleged that Hilton’s daily housekeeping requirements often cause injuries and that understaffed Dollar General stores repeatedly exposed workers to crime.
Several smaller companies were named to the list, including Mayfield Consumer Products in Mayfield, Kentucky, whose managers allegedly instructed workers to stay on duty as a tornado tore through the town in early December. Nine workers were killed, according to National COSH.
Regarding the companies named, National COSH said, “The incidents that take workers’ lives or expose them to dangerous risks are not ‘freak accidents.’ These events can be foreseen — and prevented — if employers follow proper safety protocols.”