The State of Michigan this week begins a beefed-up enforcement program at construction sites and manufacturing plants to clamp down on virus protection violations.  The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) calls them “State Emphasis Programs” or SEP’s as it begins enhanced focus on compliance with workplace safety rules. The department believes the rules it has in place will help keep state residents who work on those manufacturing settings and construction sites safe from the virus. The department released an informational document on the issues late Friday through the State Emergency Operations Center.

Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan is quoted in the release as saying, “Our goal is to educate before we regulate, and by MIOSHA increasing their presence in these industries where we see outbreaks, we can better ensure employers are following the MIOSHA Emergency Rules. We must remain vigilant to guarantee that Michigan’s businesses can stay open, workers can keep working, and we can continue to see economic recovery.”

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The state is reporting a notable bump in virus cases in the last three weeks. That includes 28 new outbreaks in manufacturing plants and at construction sites. The increase is also noted with the state tracking 673 ongoing outbreaks involving manufacturing and construction.

MIOSHA staff members plan to make random enforcement inspections at construction sites and at manufacturing plants. Should they find problems with virus safety rules, they have some options on how to proceed. While the department stresses education may be the best method to get compliance, it has the option to issue citations and penalties up to $7,000 for flagrant or repeat violations. It has done that before.

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