In one week, NJ gets 380 reports of workplace COVID-19 violations
TRENTON — A week after the state Labor Department started taking complaints, officials have received nearly 380 reports of workplace violations of the governor's executive order mandating coronavirus protections on the job.
State officials said Friday that three public-sector and 375 private-sector complaint were filed through the department's online reporting tool.
Gov. Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 192 on Oct. 28 mandating workplace protections for employees in government, private businesses and nonprofit offices.
Among the mandates that went into effect Nov. 5:
- Workers have to be able to remain 6 feet apart when practicable.
- Workers and visitors must wear face coverings when entering the worksite.
- Job sites must offer employees free masks.
- Job sites must provide handwashing materials to employees and allow them time to wash their hands.
- Job sites have to sanitize high-touch work areas.
- Job sites must have daily health check-ins for employees.
- Employees must be required to stay home when they're sick.
- Job sites must notify workers of any known exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
Officials said the complaints overwhelmingly came from the private sector because government employees have already been able to file their complaints through the Department of Health, which this year has investigated 290 COVID-19 cases and more than 650 COVID-19 workplace problems through the department's Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Office.
Officials did not release details on any of the complaints.
Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo has said that his agency will follow up on the complaints.
He said most businesses have been complying with the regulations and for those who haven't, the state's goal is "education and compliance, not punishment and penalties."
"We fully expect that almost all complaints will be dealt with and achieve compliance in short order, working cooperatively with the employer," he said last week. “We don’t anticipate any issues where we would have to call the police.”
Employee reports can be filed at this Department of Labor website.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-775-9793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.