ABC Southeastern Michigan has recently seen a number of its members receive fines from MIOSHA, which regulates workplace safety in Michigan, under the “general duty” clause requiring employers to provide workplaces free from recognized hazards causing or likely to cause death or physical harm. The citation carries a fine of up to $7,000. Even with the recent repeal of the Governors Emergency Orders, companies are still finding themselves non-compliant with Federal CDC guidelines enforced by OSHA. This is prompting the state to take further action.
Many are being cited for not having adequately provided face coverings, didn’t conduct health screenings, didn’t provide free face coverings to employees, and didn’t train employees to recognize symptoms of COVID-19, according to MIOSHA. In addition, others were found to be in violation of the governor’s orders, by MIOSHA, for not having a COVID-19 preparedness response plan.
The businesses have 15 working days to contest the penalties. MIOSHA has provided suggestions on how to address the issues they were cited for, and businesses must provide proof to MIOSHA they have taken steps to abate the issues.
MIOSHA has seen a 500% increase in complaints due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Kim Gamet, ABC SEMI Safety Director. She noted that in 2019, MIOSHA was getting around 200 complaints per month. Now, it’s 1,000 a month.
“Don’t burn your facemasks just yet,” Gamet warned. “People are watching and if you are not compliant with CDC regulations—rest assured—someone is going to report you. Frankly, if you are found willfully ignoring Federal guidelines regarding COVID protection on the jobsite and have an outbreak, it could very well close your business for good. It is just not worth the loss of life or livelihood.”
Another disturbing trend that ABC SEMI is noticing is the number of companies that are being reported are skewed heavily toward merit shop contractors versus their union counterparts. Make no mistake that the Michigan Supreme Court taking the Governor’s executive powers away by no means prevents her from utilizing MIOSHA and Health and Human Services to carry out a number of her intended orders.
“Our members need to be on their toes,” said ABC SEMI President and CEO, Keith Ledbetter. “It is very apparent that our merit shop contractors are being singled out, and with the recent Michigan Supreme Court decision repealing of Governor’s Executive Orders, I fear retribution for our members. Don’t be quick to drop all of your COVID-19 protocols on your job sites—the Federal and CDC guidelines still apply until otherwise noted.”