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Pilot Co. Cited in Michigan Over Suspected COVID-19 Safety Violations

Pilot Co. Cited in Michigan Over Suspected COVID-19 Safety Violations

Pilot Co. is among 19 businesses that Michigan has cited for suspected failure
to adopt safety measures designed to keep workers safe from COVID-19. The state
Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity considers this a violation of the
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, according to a recent

The department issued "general duty" citations. The general duty clause of the
state's workplace safety law requires employers to "provide a workplace that is
free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or
serious physical harm to the employee." General duty clause citations carry
fines of up to $7,000, the announcement said.

The state's citation and notification of penalty for Pilot alleges that in
August, the company had not:

--developed a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan that includes
steps for dealing with a confirmed infection in the workplace, protocols for
sending employees home, and temporary closures that allow the workplace to be

--provided adequate COVID-19 training for employees, such as cleaning
procedures, cleaning between retail transactions, and notifying management of
employee symptoms or suspected or confirmed diagnosis of the disease.

--maintained records of employee training.

--required daily entry screening protocol or related records.

The state fined Pilot $3,500 and gave the company until Sept. 25 to correct the
deficiencies. The citation said Pilot has the right to file a first appeal to
modify or dismiss the citation and penalty or ask for more time to take
remedial action. The fine can be reduced as much as 50% through an appeal or by
entering a rate reduction agreement, the citation said.

The department said a copy of the citation must be posted for at least three
days or until the violations are corrected, whichever is later.

A Pilot spokeswoman told OPIS the company was notified of the citation and is
looking into the matter. She added that Pilot has had no positive cases at the
Michigan location.

The company said in a statement:

"At Pilot Co., protecting the safety and wellness of team members and guests
while continuing to provide fuel and essential services remains our top
priority as the COVID-19 public health situation continues to impact North

"In accordance with health authorities and local guidelines, we are taking
necessary precautions to limit potential exposure at our more than 750 Pilot
and Flying J Travel Centers across North America, including those throughout
Michigan. We are continually reinforcing the importance of cleaning, sanitation
and hygiene and have implemented several preventative measures and procedures
to help protect the safety of our team members and guests.

"These include: following state and federal mandated guidelines of social
distancing; requiring all team members and guests to wear a face covering
inside any location; clear protective shields installed at all points of sale;
hand sanitizer stations inside locations for public and team member use;
increasing our normal sanitation process to cleaning all areas of the travel
center every four hours or more frequently as needed; requiring team members
showing any symptoms of illness to stay home and supporting their recovery with
paid sick leave."

The company also said it consistently cleans dining tables and food contact
surfaces with food-grade sanitizer; cleans pumps daily and on an as-needed
basis; frequently cleans restrooms and commonly used surfaces with
disinfectant; cleans showers after each use with degreaser, disinfectant and
floor cleaner; washes guest towels separately from service towels after each
use; makes hand sanitizer available for guests and employees; and has employees
frequently wash their hands with soap and water.

--Reporting by Donna Harris,; Editing by Barbara Chuck,

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