Worker’s safety group says Baker’s COVID-19 safety plan leaves workers to fend for themselves

Governor Charlie Baker was on the South Shore getting a first-hand look at one manufacturing company's COVID-19 safety plan.

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker was on the South Shore getting a first-hand look at one manufacturing company’s COVID-19 safety plan.

“The social distancing was a very large issue," said Tim O’Keeffe, CEO of Symmons Industries in Braintree. "We really had to enforce and tell folks this is very important.”

Boston 25 spoke to the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, also known as MassCOSH, who gave the governor’s reopening plan all failing grades.

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MassCOSH Executive Director Jodi Sugarman-Brozan says the governor’s plan “relies on workers to make complaints but there is no mechanism to protect them from retaliation."

The work safety advocacy group says Baker’s plan leaves workers fending for themselves. Sugarman-Brozan says there should be more oversight, not just relying on employee or public tips.

Through a Zoom interview, Sugarman-Brozan weighed in on how it’ll work if the state is relying on people to see something and say something.

“No, it is not going to work because when they see something and say something, they are not protected from retaliation and those local boards of health are so strapped, how are they going to get to what we expect will be a deluge of calls?” said Sugarman-Brozan.

Governor Charlie Baker was on the South Shore getting a first-hand look at one manufacturing company's COVID-19 safety plan.

“The enforcement piece comes if a worker feels they are not safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "If that employer is resistant and is not willing to comply, there is joint enforcement authority with the Department of Labor standards and the Department of Public Health and local Board of Health in taking further steps.”

Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros who was at the governor’s tour, told Boston 25 his goal is to help businesses stay open, not just fine or shut them down.

“I believe in trust and these businesses will do what they are supposed to do," said Kokoros. “And there are always going to be a few that don’t and we’ll make sure we enforce them.”

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