Lansing, MI – To protect Michigan’s workforce and workplaces, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has been working with businesses across the state on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Following several inspections, MIOSHA has issued the first round of COVID-19 “general duty” citations. MIOSHA cited six different businesses with serious violations for failing to uphold safe and healthy practices, potentially putting workers in harm’s way.
“We’re focused on education first so employers know what they must do to safely reopen. But a failure to follow guidelines puts everyone at risk. While these citations are necessary to prevent potential serious illness, they are not a reflection of the tremendous cooperation we have seen from employers and their workers across the state,” said Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. “A vast majority of businesses are doing their part to keep our economy open by following the proper guidance.”
The MIOSHA “general duty” clause requires an employer to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to the employee. A general duty clause citation carries a fine of up to $7,000.
On-site inspections conducted by MIOSHA’s general industry and construction industry enforcement divisions determined six companies allegedly committed serious violations by failing to implement necessary precautions to protect employees from contracting COVID-19. Deficiencies included a lack of health screenings, face coverings, employee training, cleaning measures and overall preparedness plans.
The cited companies will have 15 working days from receipt of the MIOSHA citations to contest the violations and penalties. The citations include suggestions to fix the hazards to protect employees. Employers must provide proof to MIOSHA that abatement has been completed. The first group of MIOSHA COVID-19 general duty citations included the following companies, a list of the citations can be found below:
- United Shore Financial Services, LLC, based in Pontiac
- UPS distribution facility based in Livonia, MI
- Speedway, LLC, gas station and convenience store location based in Waterford, MI
- Coop’s Iron Works, a fitness center based in Saginaw, MI
- Dan Freed, a residential contractor based in Eaton Rapids, MI
- Hills Roofing, LLC based in Niles, MI
“The MIOSHA investigations determined that these six employers were clearly not taking the appropriate steps to protect employees and their communities from the spread of COVID-19,” MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman said. “These citations are meant to reiterate the employer’s duty. Precautions are necessary to establish and maintain a work environment where everyone can return home safe and healthy.”
MIOSHA continues to partner with state agencies, local health departments and other entities to equip employers and their staff with proper guidance and tools to keep Michigan workplaces safe. A set of online resources at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety provides posters for employees and customers, factsheets, educational videos, a sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, best practices that employees need to follow and a reopening checklist to help businesses put safeguards in place.
Prior to these latest inspections, MIOSHA released two State Emphasis Programs (SEP), one to ensure hospital workers are provided the appropriate personal protective equipment and the other to protect employees in the service industry where there in an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, including restaurants, bars and retail establishments.
The MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division is engaging across the state to raise awareness among employers, employees and safety and health professionals on the best practices for COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. For free statewide assistance, companies can call the CET Division at 517-284-7720 or toll-free at 800-866-4674.