Intel Compromised Worker Safety to Churn Out Chips - Report

Intel is accused of prioritizing chip production over worker health and safety, according to complaints reviewed by Bloomberg.

Chipmaking giant Intel  (INTC) - Get Report compromised worker safety at some of its U.S. factories in order to maintain chip production amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to complaints filed with government agencies by employees at several U.S. sites, the world’s biggest semiconductor maker didn't isolate staff that worked closely with teammates who had tested positive for the coronavirus, and did not institute tests, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Factory managers at the company’s plants in Arizona and Oregon also dismissed concerns that social-distancing guidelines weren't being followed properly, people who asked not to be identified because they fear sanction by their employer told Bloomberg.

In Oregon, the Occupational Safety and Health division received more than 40 virus-related complaints about Intel plants in the town of Hillsboro and another nearby location between late March and late April, according to Bloomberg.

The filings, copies of which were shared with the news organization, accused Intel of not enforcing social-distancing rules, not providing masks to workers and letting employees with symptoms return to work without providing proof they tested negative for Covid-19.

Other complaints emanating from the company’s facilities in Chandler, Arizona, and Rio Rancho, New Mexico, are also being investigated by respective state occupational health and safety agencies, Bloomberg said.

Despite already wearing hazmat suits and protective gear to keep the assembly and production of chips pristine, the complaints alleged that workers were not given opportunities to socially distance, particularly when not on the assembly line, and weren't provided hazard pay.

Further, the complaints alleged that Intel never instituted any Covid-19 testing at any of its facilities, the report said.

Intel told Bloomberg that it has taken all precautions necessary to protect its workers through the outbreak, and that its responses continue to evolve. It also said the reason it didn't institute coronavirus testing was because it was unable to obtain tests.

Shares of Intel were up .51% at $59.47 in trading on Friday.