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Utah has documented 623 complaints about COVID-19 and workplace safety

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Posted at 10:25 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 18:08:30-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has documented 623 complaints about workplace safety and COVID-19, with some businesses facing a citation for not correcting problems.

The Utah Labor Commission provided the numbers to FOX 13 under a public records request. The number of complaints surged after Governor Gary Herbert issued a series of public health orders on Nov. 8. He instituted a statewide mask mandate and restrictions on the size of gatherings. Businesses have been required to implement physical distancing under longstanding public health orders.

READ: FOX 13 Investigates: Utah OSHA has inspected only a few workplaces accused of COVID-19 problems

The records show a small number of complaints to the state since March. But in November, it surged to 447 complaints.

Month# of Complaints
March34
April32
May13
June28
July22
Aug.18
Sept.9
Oct.20
Nov.447
Total623

The Utah Labor Commission said complaints prior to Nov. 9 were referred to the state health department. But the governor's orders gave the labor commission power to investigate and issue citations. The agency would not comment on pending investigations.

FOX 13 is told the majority of complaints have been minor ones, about mask wearing in workplace settings. But others have dealt with hazard pay, a lack of personal protective equipment and more serious safety issues.

Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, is considering a bill that would strengthen worker protections in the pandemic.