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State cites nine businesses for COVID-19 Workplace Safety violations

MIOSHA again encourages employers to take advantage of education and consultation services to prevent citations and assure workplace safety

LANSING — To prioritize worker safety and health, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) inspected and issued COVID-19 “general duty” citations to nine different businesses with serious violations for failing to protect workers and take safety precautions.

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 nine 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.

A cited employer may choose to enter into a Penalty Reduction Agreement (PRA) with MIOSHA and agree to abate noted hazards by the abatement date provided within the citation and will receive a 50% reduction in penalties. By entering into the PRA an employer must also agree to not seek an appeal.

MIOSHA cited the nine below companies for a serious violation of the general duty clause for the following issues:

Minority Auto Handling Specialists, Inc. in Woodhaven, MI was fined $3,000 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of adequate training regarding the risks, actions taken to protect employees including site specific measures, and how employees can protect themselves, failure to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces, failure to provide paper towels for workers and visitors to wash their hands and not maintaining hand sanitizer. The inspection was initiated by an employee complaint, view the full citation document.

Bayside Hospitality Inc. dba Tawas Bay Beach Resort in East Tawas, MI was fined $1500.00 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including lack of a preparedness and response plan, failing to train employees on COVID-19, assuming and not asking if patrons not wearing masks were not medically able to tolerate a mask, and not keeping everyone on the premises six feet from one another. The employer was also cited for an other-than-serious record keeping violation. The inspection was initiated by an employee complaint, view the full citation document.

Value City Furniture in Flint, Michigan was fined $1500.00 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of a preparedness and response plan, failure to conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, not keeping everyone on the worksite premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible, not requiring face coverings when social distancing could not be maintained, not training employees on the steps the employees must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 employees on COVID-19, not maintaining a record of required COVID-19 training and daily health screenings, not posting signs at store entrances for customers and assuming customers not wearing mask had a medical condition. The inspection was initiated as part of the COVID-19 Retail State Emphasis Program, view the full citation document.

United States Lighting dba U B Tan in Fenton, MI was fined $400.00 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including lack of a preparedness and response plan, failing to train employees on COVID-19, not conducting daily self-screening protocols for COVID-19 and not posting signs informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick. The inspection was initiated by a complaint, view the full citation document.

Lane Automotive in Watervliet, MI was fined $3,500 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of face coverings when employees were within six feet of each other, allowing barriers to be removed in break rooms so employee could sit next to each other and not avoiding larger meetings when social distancing was possible. The inspection was initiated from an employee complaint, view the full citation document.

Red River Restaurant Group dba FireRock Grille in Caledonia, MI will be fined $6,300 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of face coverings worn for customers, not closing waiting areas while customers are waiting for tables and not avoiding large gatherings. The inspection was initiated from an employee complaint, view the full citation document.

Andersons Service Center in Midland, MI was fined $400 for a violation of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of a preparedness and response plan, no training, not providing face coverings, lack of postings and posters, no designated worksite supervisor, no increase in facility cleaning, lack of cleaning supplies and failing to conduct the daily health screening including a questionnaire. The inspection was initiated in response to a complaint, view the full citation document.

Jerry’s Tire in Lake Odessa, MI was fined $3,500 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of training for employees on the infectious disease preparedness and response plan; no postings on employees staying home if sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene; not conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks or having employees self-monitor; no face coverings when employees were within six feet of each other; and not routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. The inspection was initiated from an employee complaint, view the full citation document.

River City Reproductions and Graphics in Kentwood, MI will be fined $2,100 for violations of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements including the lack of a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, lack of employee training on policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, not conducting self-screenings for employees and not enforcing face coverings and social distancing. The inspection was initiated from an employee complaint, view the full citation document.

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.

To enhance MIOSHA’s consultative services, the new MIOSHA Ambassador Program partnership with NSF International will send safety and health experts to businesses statewide now to offer education and support, with a focus on workplaces with a higher risk of community transmission in the retail, restaurant and bars, and fitness center industries. To request free consultation, training services, call 517-284-7720 or online at MIOSHA Request for Consultative Assistance.

For more information about MIOSHA’s safety and health guidelines to protect Michigan’s workforce during the pandemic, Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).

To report health and safety concerns in the workplace, go to Michigan.gov/MIOSHAcomplaint.

Information around COVID-19 is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at michigan.gov/coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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