COVID Safety: Avoiding Workplace Violations
Following the Michigan Supreme Court’s opinion upending Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders, how will state regulators begin enforcing workforce safety protocols?
Sean Egan, Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Deputy Director for Labor at the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), joined the Grand Rapids Chamber on Thursday, October 15 to review what businesses should be doing and how to avoid fines and violations.
What’s the latest?
On Wednesday, October 14, Governor Whitmer and MIOSHA issued emergency rules to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. These rules require development and implementation of a COVID-19 preparedness response plan, for which all employees should be trained. Training must include workplace infection-control policies, proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), steps for notifying an employer of COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Jobs that can be performed remotely should continue to do so. All rules remain effective for six months.
What should businesses do now?
The best advice and safest thing to do is to continue operations as you were before the Supreme Court made its decision. Follow MIOSHA and CDC Guidelines and the MDHHS orders to the best of your ability.
The Michigan Attorney General said they will not enforce the executive orders that were ruled unconstitutional. The MDHHS Emergency Orders, however, make a violation a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine. MIOSHA will be enforcing their rules and has some flexibility in enforcement, particularly where they referred to CDC guidance. Local health departments will also have an enforcement role.
Listen to the Virtual Town Hall below.