Many Michigan businesses are up and running again after the shutdown, although now operating at a new norm. The active Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 contain safety and health workplace guidelines businesses are required to follow if open. Yesterday, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) reminded businesses that easing up on COVID-19 workplace safety measures is not an option.
Before reopening, businesses were required to adopt workplace safety measures and COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. Employers are required to provide COVID-19 training to employees. Any work that is capable of being performed remotely is still required to be performed remotely. Employers must conduct daily health screening of employees. The workplace safety requirements Michigan businesses are required to follow help protect Michigan’s workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are contained in Executive Order 175.
MIOSHA’s general duty clause requires employers to “furnish to each employee, employment and a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to the employee.” In the age of COVID-19, failure to follow the workplace safety requirements in the COVID-19 related Executive Orders puts employees at risk.
Recently, MIOSHA issued general duty citations for COVID-19 safety violations to 19 Michigan businesses after on-site inspections. General duty citations carry fines up to $7,000. Deficiencies found during inspections include a lack of health screenings, face coverings, employee training, cleaning measures, and overall preparedness plans. Among the businesses fined are commercial and residential construction firms, roofing contractors, a painting contractor, home improvement stores, a tire store, a supermarket, a restaurant, a fuel supplier, a nursery, and an animal hospital.
Although at times it may feel as though we are back to work as usual and out of the woods with respect to COVID-19, MIOSHA has reminded us that the government feels differently and will continue to monitor businesses’ actions and fine those who are not complying with the Governor’s Executive Orders.
If you have questions regarding the Executive Orders related to COVID-19, contact Jill Miller.