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December 16 2020

Increased MIOSHA Inspections and Citations Expected with COVID Cases Continuing to Rise

By: Benjamin C. Dilley

On October 14, 2020, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“MIOSHA”) issued emergency rules intended to address COVID-19 and safety practices for employers.  Then, on October 22, 2020, House Bills 6031 and 6101, which addressed employer liability for COVID-19 related claims, went into effect.  Under these new amendments to the Michigan  Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers have limited liability for claims based on an employee’s exposure to COVID-19, so long as the employer was “operating in compliance with all federal, state, and local statutes, rules, regulations, executive orders, and agency orders related to COVID-19 that had not been denied legal effect at the time of the exposure.”  More recently, on November 4, 2020, MIOSHA issued an Interim Enforcement Plan, which set forth how workplace complaints and investigations would be handled.  All these developments indicated that MIOSHA would begin to increase its investigations into employers’ COVID-19 workplace protection.

Indeed, since those developments, MIOSHA has and will likely continue to increase its inspections of employers to ensure compliance with these COVID-19 safety protocols.  In addition to a fine of up to $7,000, an employer may lose its limited liability following a failed MIOSHA inspection and citation. Therefore, it is important that employers have been and will continue to follow these rules and regulations. This not only protects employees and customers from exposure to COVID-19, but also protects employers from liability in the event of an employee’s exposure.

Mika Meyers has provided a number of client updates intended to educate employers about these same rules and regulations and assist with compliance. If a client has any questions regarding these rules and regulations, please contact any of our labor and employment attorneys, including Scott E. Dwyer, Nathaniel R. Wolf, and Nikole L. Canute.