Thousands Of Coronavirus Workplace Complaints Surge Into Indiana OSHA Office

Apr 16, 2020

To comply with CDC guidelines on social distancing, many - though not all - phones stores have moved sales online.
Credit Lauren Chapman / IPB News

As of Thursday, Indiana’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has received close to 6,000 non-formal complaints related to COVID-19. About half are questioning whether a company is really an essential business as defined by the governor’s “Stay-At-Home” orders.

In a written statement, an Indiana Department of Labor spokesperson said that’s about five times the number of non-formal complaints the agency sees in an entire year.

The non-formal complaints can be anonymous, unlike formal complaints which require a signature from an employee. Questions about whether a business is essential or not are reviewed by an enforcement response team appointed by the governor.

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What The Expanded 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana 2020 Two-Way. Text "elections" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

LEE MAS: ¿Puedo Salir A Caminar? Esto Es Lo Que Significa Una Orden De Permanecer En Casa

As of Monday, the task force has investigated nearly 800 complaints and issued 35 verbal warnings but no written cease and desist letters.

Complaints related to workplace safety are investigated at IOSHA’s discretion and could result in a letter to an employer, which they have seven days to respond to. However, the department says it has no legal authority to declare a workplace emergency or change employer policies regarding infectious diseases.

Contact Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.