If you own a business and you’ve managed somehow to stay in business, make sure you have a COVID-19 workplace plan, and make sure you’re following it.   The State of Michigan is handing out hefty fines to businesses across the state for COVID-19 workplace safety violations.

23 employers were recently cited, including one in Kalamazoo, and they now have to respond within 15 days.  Employers must provide proof to MIOSHA that abatement has been completed.  A cited employer may choose to enter into a Penalty Reduction Agreement with MIOSHA and agree to abate noted hazards by the abatement date provided within the citation and will receive a 50% reduction in penalties.

Under MIOSHA’s Emergency Rules, employers that resume in-person work must, among other things, have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to their employees that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), and steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. An emergency rule citation carries a fine of up to $7,000.

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And, as inspectors make the rounds, they’re taking the opportunity to hand out fines for other, non-COVID-related hazards that they may find.   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. You might have lots of hand-sanitizer and masks around, but if somebody forgot to put that ladder away, you could be in trouble.

The State says roofing and home improvement company Omar Nonato of Kalamazoo was fined $400 for serious violations of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Emergency Rules.  The company was specifically cited for a lack of face coverings, no social distancing from other employees, no preparedness plan, and no COVID safety coordinator. Total penalties, including other workplace violations, were $3,900.

MIOSHA has cited 126 companies for serious violations of the general duty clause.  Among those cited, there were a few from Southwest Michigan.

  • Dave’s Glass Service, Inc., based in Kalamazoo, MI was fined $2,100.
  • Valentin Roofing, LLC based in Kalamazoo, MI was fined $2,100.
  • Musselman Home Improvements, LLC based in Kalamazoo, MI was fined $2,100.
  • DJ McQuestion & Sons, Inc. of Leroy, MI was fined $2,800.
  • C&M Exterior, LLC of Kalamazoo, MI was fined $2,800.
  • American Eagle Home Improvement location based in Bangor, MI was fined $2,100.
  • Michigan Die Casting in Dowagiac, MI was fined $16,800.
  • Sid's Professional Roofing & More, LLC of Covert, MI was fined $2,100.

So, make sure you have a plan! It needs to address the following:

  1. Face coverings for employees and guests
  2. Social distancing from other employees
  3. A formal preparedness plan
  4. A COVID safety coordinator.

Sample COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Plan

The State has a website where you can rat on businesses, but you’re on your own to find that.

 

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