Add Oregon-OSHA inspectors to the list of people probably happy the state’s indoor mask mandate is set to expire March 12th.
Officials with the agency said Wednesday it received 31,635 COVID-related complaints since March 2020 – up from the typical 2,000 complaints filed in a normal year.
The COVID complaints led to 729 inspections and 227 citations for COVID violations.
Central Oregon businesses hit with 80+ mask complaints in two weeks
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Aaron Corvin, the public information officer for the agency, said 51 of the violations involved “willful violations,” including Kevista Coffee in Bend, whose violations have soared to more than $116,000.
“Since the pandemic began, the division has not issued willful violations for non-COVID-related matters,” Corvin said in a statement. “Before the pandemic, the division issued citations involving willful violations an average of two to four annually. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional or purposeful disregard for the requirements of the Oregon Safe Employment Act or a plain indifference to employee safety and health.”
Kevista’s fines remain in the appeals process, Corvin said.
He said two-thirds of the citations issued for COVID violations were never appealed by the employer.
More than 70 percent of employers who have received penalties for non-willful COVID-related violations have already paid.
Most of the 51 citations for willful violations are still moving the appeals process, Corvin said.
Several have been resolved with the employer either dropping the appeal, reaching a settlement or moving into a payment plan.
In all, the COVID citations resulted in $941,000 in initial penalties, Corvin said.
Overall, the agency received 38,766 complaints since March 2020.
Central Christian School fined nearly $11K for violating COVID mask rules