The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) cited 19 different businesses with serious “general duty” violations for failing to implement safety and health workplace guidelines, exposing employees to hazards of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“The MIOSHA investigations determined that these employers were not taking precautions to protect employees and their communities from the spread of COVID-19,” MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman said in an agency statement. “Failure to follow guidelines puts everyone at risk and these citations are meant to reiterate the employer’s responsibility to protect their employees.”
MIOSHA’s general industry and construction industry enforcement divisions conducted on-site inspections and determined that 19 companies allegedly committed serious violations by failing to implement necessary precautions to protect employees from contracting COVID-19. Deficiencies included a lack of cleaning measures, employee training, face coverings, health screenings, and overall preparedness plans.
The cited employers facing the highest penalties include:
- Belle Tire of Shelby Township, fined $7,000 for violations including failure to require face coverings when social distance could not be maintained, the lack of a preparedness and response plan, and failure to train employees on COVID-19 following an inspection initiated due to complaints concerning employees not wearing face coverings;
- Fresh Pak, a produce packing facility based in Detroit, fined $4,900 for violations including failing to conduct a daily health screening protocol; failing to maintain/retain documentation for training, entry screening, and contact tracing; failing to post signs, markings, and barriers at the time clock; failing to provide cleaning supplies for high-touch surfaces; and failing to require face coverings when social distance could not be maintained;
- ABSR, Inc., and Story Roofing Company Inc., based in Buckley—following a regular programmed inspection initiated at a Traverse City jobsite—fined $4,200 for violations including failure to require face coverings when social distance could not be maintained, failing to train employees on COVID-19 guidelines, and the lack of a preparedness and response plan; and
- The Home Depot in Dearborn Heights, following an inspection initiated in response to a complaint, fined $4,000 for violations including failing to conduct a daily health screening, failing to designate a COVID-19 workplace supervisor, failure to maintain/retain documentation for daily health screening, and failing to require face coverings when social distance could not be maintained.
Michigan’s general workplace requirements include developing a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, designating at least one worksite supervisor to implement and monitor the preparedness and response plan, following cleaning and disinfection protocols, and developing a response and notification plan for confirmed cases of COVID-19.
MIOSHA offers a sample COVD-19 preparedness and response plan and a reopening checklist. The agency also has industry and workspace-specific guidelines that include construction, healthcare facilities, manufacturing, and offices, as well as casinos, meat processing, restaurants and bars, and retail establishments.
MIOSHA also offers an employee’s guide to best practices that workers should follow during the ongoing pandemic. The agency also offers consultative services that include a newly launched MIOSH Ambassadors program.