City of Santa Rosa to Pay State Workplace Safety Agency Nearly $ 10,000 in Penalties in Settlement Following Police Detective Death Due to COVID-19 Complications .
California’s Occupational Safety and Health Division issued four citations to the city after investigating the March 31, 2020 death of Police Detective Marylou Armer, 43, after contracting COVID-19 and the agency determined that the city did not have appropriate workplace safety measures in place.
Cal / OSHA initially requested $ 32,000 in penalties, citing the city for poor record keeping, a violation of the Santa Rosa Police Department’s respiratory safety equipment protocol, and mismanagement of employees with symptoms of COVID -19.
The citations were ultimately downgraded after city officials argued that Armer’s infection and death occurred at a time when the nature of the virus was still unknown and public health officials from the Sonoma County hadn’t even issued safety protocols for employers until the day Armer died.
Cal / OSHA subsequently lowered the citation for incorrect record keeping from $ 5,000 to $ 3,000 and halved the fine for improper respiratory protection from $ 13,500 to $ 6,750.
Cal / OSHA also waived two fines of $ 6,750 each for mismanagement of employees with symptoms of COVID-19, both of which were initially considered “serious” violations, but whose severity has been reduced to “a notice in lieu”.
“The city of Santa Rosa takes the health and safety of all of its employees very seriously and continues to implement best practices for preventing COVID-19 in the workplace,” the city said in a statement.