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Michigan cites 10 more employers for COVID-19 violations

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

State officials on Friday announced they have cited 10 more businesses for failing to protect workers and take safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures followed inspections by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration's general industry and construction industry enforcement divisions. So far, the state has cited 67 employers for COVID-19 safety violations.

MIOSHA Logo

Seven received citations for not following the administration's emergency rules, which say businesses that resume in-person operations must have a written COVID-19 preparedness/response plan as well as provide thorough training to employees that cover topics such as infection-control practices and the proper use of personal protection equipment. An emergency rule citation carries a fine of up to $7,000. 

Among them were four in Metro Detroit that faced citations but no fines for failing to develop a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, state officials said: BC&F Tool Company Inc., Oak Park; United Resin Corporation, Royal Oak; J. Manufacturing Co. Inc., Madison Heights; and AIS Automation Systems Inc., Rockwood.

The other workplaces cited were:

  • Tri-Unity Christian School, Wyoming, for failing to conduct daily health screenings,  not requiring face coverings when social distancing could not be maintained, not placing posters that encourage staying home when sick, and not maintaining documentation for training and entry screening. Total penalties are $2,000. 
  • Commercial Fabricating & Engineering, Highland, was cited but not fined for failing to develop a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. Investigations found violations of other non-COVID-19 workplace safety regulations, resulting in $14,700 in penalties.
  • Michigan Die Casting, Dowagiac, was cited for lack of a COVID-19 response plan or increased cleaning as well as failing to train employees on workplace controls for the virus, implement a self-screening protocol or provide and enforce face coverings. Total penalties are $16,800. 

Three Michigan workplaces received general duty citations, which can carry fines of up to $7,000. 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," state officials said.

Those cited were:

  • Powerhouse Gym, Troy, for lack of a preparedness and response plan, failing to conduct the daily health screening, including a questionnaire, and not requiring face coverings when social distancing could not be maintained. Total penalties: $700. 
  • K2 Holdings LL, Fenton, for failing to train employees on COVID-19, conduct the daily health screening, require face coverings or use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues where people stand. Total penalties: $2,100. 
  • Plastic Development Group LLC, Southfield, was fined $2,100 for violations including lacking a preparedness and response plan, failing to conduct the daily health screening and not requiring facial coverings.

The cited employers have 15 working days after receiving the citations to contest the violations and penalties. They must provide proof to MIOSHA that abatement has been completed. A cited employer can enter a penalty reduction agreement with the state to address the issues by a certain date but must agree not to seek an appeal, officials said Friday. 

The citations were noted the same day Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced indoor dining at restaurants and bars in Michigan will resume on Feb. 1 with restrictions, 75 days after it was suspended amid a rise in COVID-19 infections.

Meanwhile, state officials reported Michigan on Friday added 2,157 new cases of the coronavirus and 17 deaths. That brought the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 546,468 and deaths to 14,070 since the virus was first detected in March, the state Department of Health and Human Services said.

Data on hospitalizations, testing and new cases all trended in hopeful directions last week as the state appears to be moving past a second wave that hit in late November.