• Pilot Co. Cited in Michigan Over Suspected COVID-19 Safety Violations

  • Pilot Co. Cited in Michigan Over Suspected COVID-19 Safety Violations

    Pilot Co. is among 19 businesses that Michigan has cited for suspected failure
    to adopt safety measures designed to keep workers safe from COVID-19. The state
    Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity considers this a violation of the
    Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, according to a recent
    announcement.

    The department issued "general duty" citations. The general duty clause of the
    state's workplace safety law requires employers to "provide a workplace that is
    free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or
    serious physical harm to the employee." General duty clause citations carry
    fines of up to $7,000, the announcement said.

    The state's citation and notification of penalty for Pilot alleges that in
    August, the company had not:

    --developed a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan that includes
    steps for dealing with a confirmed infection in the workplace, protocols for
    sending employees home, and temporary closures that allow the workplace to be
    deep-cleaned.

    --provided adequate COVID-19 training for employees, such as cleaning
    procedures, cleaning between retail transactions, and notifying management of
    employee symptoms or suspected or confirmed diagnosis of the disease.

    --maintained records of employee training.

    --required daily entry screening protocol or related records.

    The state fined Pilot $3,500 and gave the company until Sept. 25 to correct the
    deficiencies. The citation said Pilot has the right to file a first appeal to
    modify or dismiss the citation and penalty or ask for more time to take
    remedial action. The fine can be reduced as much as 50% through an appeal or by
    entering a rate reduction agreement, the citation said.

    The department said a copy of the citation must be posted for at least three
    days or until the violations are corrected, whichever is later.

    A Pilot spokeswoman told OPIS the company was notified of the citation and is
    looking into the matter. She added that Pilot has had no positive cases at the
    Michigan location.

    The company said in a statement:

    "At Pilot Co., protecting the safety and wellness of team members and guests
    while continuing to provide fuel and essential services remains our top
    priority as the COVID-19 public health situation continues to impact North
    America.

    "In accordance with health authorities and local guidelines, we are taking
    necessary precautions to limit potential exposure at our more than 750 Pilot
    and Flying J Travel Centers across North America, including those throughout
    Michigan. We are continually reinforcing the importance of cleaning, sanitation
    and hygiene and have implemented several preventative measures and procedures
    to help protect the safety of our team members and guests.

    "These include: following state and federal mandated guidelines of social
    distancing; requiring all team members and guests to wear a face covering
    inside any location; clear protective shields installed at all points of sale;
    hand sanitizer stations inside locations for public and team member use;
    increasing our normal sanitation process to cleaning all areas of the travel
    center every four hours or more frequently as needed; requiring team members
    showing any symptoms of illness to stay home and supporting their recovery with
    paid sick leave."

    The company also said it consistently cleans dining tables and food contact
    surfaces with food-grade sanitizer; cleans pumps daily and on an as-needed
    basis; frequently cleans restrooms and commonly used surfaces with
    disinfectant; cleans showers after each use with degreaser, disinfectant and
    floor cleaner; washes guest towels separately from service towels after each
    use; makes hand sanitizer available for guests and employees; and has employees
    frequently wash their hands with soap and water.

    --Reporting by Donna Harris, dharris@opisnet.com; Editing by Barbara Chuck,
    bchuck@opisnet.com



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