Michigan prison, McLaren Hospital among workplaces cited for alleged COVID-19 violations

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

A Michigan hospital and state corrections facility are among nearly two dozen workplaces cited by the state for coronavirus-related safety violations, officials said Friday. 

The State Emergency Operations Center said violations and fines were issued by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a result of inspections that officials contend turned up inadequate safety measures and failures to protect workers. 

The Michigan Department of Corrections Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian was issued $6,300 in fines for violating COVID-19 workplace safety requirements. 

A sign identifies a parking space for those seeking COVID-19 testing at a McLaren urgent care facility in Lansing on Friday, July 17, 2020.

The state contends the facility's mask wearing, disinfecting and social distancing practices were inadequate and the site lacked a proper infectious disease and response plan and fell short in identifying close contacts for employees who had received positive COVID tests. 

The inspection, the state noted, was conducted in response to a COVID-related fatality.

MDOC, in a statement Friday, said it disagrees with the citation and will appeal the "unfounded" claims, spokesman Chris Gautz said in an email.

Gautz said MDOC has requested more specific information from MIOSHA about the citation but to date has received no response.

"Until the department is provided with the specific details, it cannot properly and fully respond," he wrote. "Throughout the pandemic the MDOC and its facilities have been proactive, created detailed response plans, followed department policy and met or exceeded state and federal guidelines."

MIOSHA has inspected several state corrections facilities over the past year regarding MDOC's response to the pandemic, he said, and "has never had any issues like the allegations announced today."

"The department has been and remains committed to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for its employees and prisoners," Gautz wrote. 

The Gus Harrison Correctional Facility has had 1,465 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including two positive cases currently and seven deaths, records show. 

State officials confirmed MDOC appealed the citation and the appeal is in progress.

Separately, the state health and safety officials fined McLaren Port Huron Hospital $6,300 for serious violations, including not conducting daily self-screening for onsite employees or adhering to proper mask wearing and social distancing rules as well as record-keeping issues. 

"Throughout the COVID pandemic, we kept our patients and team safe by following protocols around proper PPE and safe care practices," McLaren Port Huron President and CEO Eric Cecava said in a Friday statement. "We have worked closely with MIOSHA through this process to make the necessary adjustments to make sure everyone is safe, including formalizing our practices in written policies."

Under MIOSHA’s Emergency Rules, employers that resume in-person work must have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide employee training on personal protection equipment and infection-control practices.

The MIOSHA general duty clause requires an employer to provide a workplace that is free from hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. 

Others with violations of emergency rules or general duty citations:

  • Midway Rentals and Sales of Negaunee was cited for not having on site a preparedness and response plan and not documenting daily health screenings. 
  • Beacon Park Finishing LLC in Roseville was fined for not providing a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, self-screening protocols or employee training.
  • Iron Mountain Powersports, LLC of Kingsford was cited for not documenting daily health screenings. 
  • Brighton NC Machine Corp in Brighton was fined for not following health department quarantine orders for a suspected COVID-19 case and not contacting the local health department when a known positive COVID-19 case was detected at the workplace.
  • Prefix Corporation in Auburn Hills was cited for not maintaining employee screening records. 
  • Pro-Tech Environmental & Construction Services of Grand Rapids was fined for not wearing face coverings when not maintaining social distancing requirements.
  • Santigo Roofing LLC was fined for a lack of preparedness plan and daily health screenings.
  • Ampro Inc. in Howell was cited for not maintaining a record of COVID-19 employee training. 
  • Pro-Vision Solutions LLC in Byron Center was fined for not enforcing face coverings.
  • Bingham Farms Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery was fined for for not providing a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, not implementing daily entry self-screening protocols, and not providing training to employees.
  •  Complete Roofing and Repair LLC of Grand Rapids was fined for not conducting daily health screenings.
  •  MORR Construction LLC was cited for not having a preparedness and response plan.  
  • Rodrigo Garcia Trejo of Detroit was cited for not having a a preparedness and response plan. 
  • Omar Nonato of Kalamazoo was fined for a lack of face coverings and social distancing.
  • Cross General Contracting Inc. of Munising was fined for not wearing face coverings. 
  • Smith Metal Structures, Inc of Iron Mountain was cited for not documenting daily health screenings.  
  • Terrazzo Creations and Renewals of Iron Mountain was cited for not documenting daily health screenings. 
  • Gerber Construction Co. Inc. of Reed City was fined for a lack of social distancing and face coverings.
  •  Herzog Homes L.L.C. of Grand Rapids was fined for not having a preparedness and response plan, failing to train employees as well as a lack of face coverings, social distancing and self-screening protocols.

Cited employers have 15 working days from receipt of citations to contest the violations and penalties.