* Mark Maxwell…
The Illinois Department of Agriculture instructed 26 inspectors in the Weights and Measures division to return to work on Monday, the same day Governor J.B. Pritzker warned private businesses who reopen too soon that they could “be taking on liability.”
State law requires the Department of Agriculture to inspect gas pumps, small scales, fuel trucks, propane trucks, large scales, grain elevators, warehouse receipts and other measures as a form of consumer protection and safety. Only the gas pump inspectors have been called back to work.
“We’re grabbing a nozzle four times after thousands of people grabbed it days before, and then we go to the next pump to do the same thing,” 15-year veteran inspector Scott Miller said in a phone call on Tuesday.
“If the station has one gas pump with the virus on it, by the time I get done, all pumps have the virus on it,” Miller said. “Even wearing wearing rubber gloves, it’s still on the gloves. So it’s not getting me, but I could be spreading it all across the station. So then, everybody who pulls up at that station has the possibility of getting the virus.”
According to emails obtained by WCIA, Miller is one of several concerned inspectors who fear that without the proper personal protective equipment and training, they could unintentionally act as state-sanctioned super spreaders of COVID-19.
“They gave us no training at all,” he said. “They gave us some CDC guidelines and some YouTube videos.”
* The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents the workers, so I reached out to the union…
“The Illinois Federation of Teachers has been in communication and is working closely with the DOA to make sure all employees are safe and that training is available so that they can execute their job safely - with proper PPE and practices in place that inhibit the spread of COVID-19 when they return,” said Monica Trevino, IFT’s Director of Communications. ”Additionally, the Products and Standards employees have not returned to active status in the field and are still in remote work status.”