Albuquerque, NM -The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) issued citations to O’Reilly Auto Parts (O’Reilly) for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in an unsafe workplace.
The citations were issued for violations by management to protect employees from exposure to COVID-19. NMED assessed penalties of $242,827.20 for the violations.
NMED cited an O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Lovington for allowing employees with COVID-19 symptoms – who ultimately tested positive for COVID-19 – to continue to work, failing to properly screen employees for COVID-19 and not following proper cleaning and disinfection protocols. This is a violation of state law, public health orders and COVID-Safe Practices, as well as O’Reilly’s own internal policies.
Three employees at the store were COVID-positive and one worker, a 46-year-old woman, died.
“Providing employees with a false sense of protection fromCOVID-19 by putting policies in place to comply with state law and then not following them is unconscionable. Had O’Reilly management complied with corporate policies, it’s possible this tragic situation could have been avoided,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “Every employee deserves to come home from work safe and healthy, and fortunately manyNew Mexico businesses are doing all they can to protect their workers.”
O’Reilly has 15 business days from the date the citations were issued to pay the assessed penalties or contest the citations before the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Commission.
NMED settled two citations with O’Reilly Auto Parts for violations of the public health order at a Santa Fe store last month. In that case, O’Reilly paid $79,200 in penalties that go to the state’s general fund.
Any penalties collected in this matter will go to the state general fund, the primary state fund from which the ongoing expenses of state government are paid.