Advocacy News – November 13, 2020
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) launched a State Emphasis Program (SEP) Thursday focused on office settings. It stresses the need for “increased vigilance, education and enforcement on remote work policies” and will include inspections, citations and penalties.
According to the state’s press release on the SEP, MIOSHA will conduct inspections at workplaces with traditional office settings to review how rules are being followed and enhance compliance. While inspections will “seek to help employers comply with safety standards, if the inspections determine deficiencies in the employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, MIOSHA may issue citations and penalties up to $7,000.”
In MIOSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Rules, employers are required to create a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that the employee can feasibly complete their work activities remotely. MIOSHA says, under the statute, they can cite employers, require abatement and fine them up to $7,000 for failing to produce a remote work policy or if the employer’s preparedness and response plan is non-compliant. MDHHS also issued guidance last week with recommendations for remote work in office settings.
The press release further specifies “[s]ome workplaces, including offices, seem to be lax on requiring certain protocols. As our numbers rise, all workplaces in Michigan must promote and continue remote work to the absolute maximum. Congregating in any setting leads to potential spread and remote work helps mitigate some degree of the congregation.”
Although the SEP only impacts office settings, we believe additional programs may be issued for manufacturing and construction in the coming days or weeks.
For further information on the MIOSHA/DHHS Emergency Rules and guidelines and/or Workplace Safety and Preparedness Plans, please visit the Chamber’s COVID-19 toolkit. Please let Wendy Block know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.