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6 Michigan businesses fined for ‘serious violations’ of COVID-19 safety protocols

State officials say businesses potentially endangered workers

A sign requiring face masks is posted on the window of a clothing store during the coronavirus pandemic in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Thursday, May 21, 2020. While most of California took another step forward to partly reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend, Los Angeles County didn't join the party because the number of coronavirus cases has grown at a pace that leaves it unable to meet even the new, relaxed state standards for allowing additional businesses and recreational activities.
A sign requiring face masks is posted on the window of a clothing store during the coronavirus pandemic in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Thursday, May 21, 2020. While most of California took another step forward to partly reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend, Los Angeles County didn't join the party because the number of coronavirus cases has grown at a pace that leaves it unable to meet even the new, relaxed state standards for allowing additional businesses and recreational activities. (2020 The Associated Press)

Six businesses in Michigan have been fined for “serious violations” of coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocols and potentially endangering workers, state officials said.

READ: Here’s what the businesses did to get fined

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration performed its first round of inspections to make sure workers are being protected from the spread of COVID-19. Six businesses earned “general duty” citations for “failing to uphold safe and healthy practices.”

Here are the six companies that were cited:

  • United Shore Financial Services -- based in Pontiac
  • UPS distribution facility -- based in Livonia
  • Speedway gas station and convenience store -- based in Waterford Township
  • Coop’s Iron Works fitness center -- based in Saginaw
  • Dan Freed residential contractor -- based in Eaton Rapids
  • Hills Roofing -- based in Niles

“We’re focused on education first, so employers know what they must do to safely reopen,” Michigan COVID-19 workplace safety director Sean Egan said. “A failure to follow guidelines puts everyone at risk. While these citations are necessary to prevent potential serious illness, they are not a reflection of the tremendous cooperation we have seen from employers and their workers across the state. A vast majority of businesses are doing their part to keep our economy open by following the proper guidance.”

Employers are required to provide a workplace free from hazards that could cause harm to employees. The “general duty” citations carry fines of up to $7,000.

READ: Michigan Court of Appeals rules Gov. Whitmer has authority to use emergency pandemic powers

“On-site inspections conducted by MIOSHA’s general industry and construction industry enforcement divisions determined six companies allegedly committed serious violations by failing to implement necessary precautions to protect employees from contracting COVID-19,” state officials said. “Deficiencies included a lack of health screenings, face coverings, employee training, cleaning measures and overall preparedness plans.”

The companies have 15 business days to contest the violations and penalties. State officials provided suggestions to fix the hazards and protect employees.

Employers have to provide proof that problems have been solved.

“The MIOSHA investigations determined that these six employers were clearly not taking the appropriate steps to protect employees and their communities from the spread of COVID-19,” MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman said. “These citations are meant to reiterate the employer’s duty. Precautions are necessary to establish and maintain a work environment where everyone can return home safe and healthy.”

Click here to view MIOSHA’s set of online resources for employees and customers. Anyone with questions about guidelines can call 855-SAFE-C19.

You can also get more information about the coronavirus in Michigan and the CDC’s coronavirus updates.

Read more about the violations and fines below.

United Shore Financial Services

United Shore Financial Services was fined $6,300. An inspection was done after multiple employee complaints and reports from the Oakland County Health Department of COVID-19 outbreaks among employees, state officials said.

Employees were allowed to work in a shared office space without wearing face coverings, officials said.

They were allowed to work within six feet of one another without face coverings, according to the state.

Newly hired employees could meet in a large group -- in excess of 120 people -- without wearing face coverings while seated within six feet of one another, state officials said.

Employees said they were not notified within 24 hours of the employer learning that someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 had visited the office.

UPS distribution facility

UPS was fined $7,000 after an inspection was triggered by a complaint.

UPS didn’t make sure all sorters and loaders participated in a daily entry health screening protocols, according to authorities.

Delivery drivers and loaders working in the facility could work within six feet of one another when it was feasible to have them work more than six feet apart, officials said.

UPS didn’t require employees to wear face coverings when they were within six feet of other people in the workplace, state officials said.

Authorities said there weren’t sufficient cleaning measures in place for delivery vehicles.

UPS hadn’t conducted employee training on COVID-19 that covered all the elements of the preparedness and response plan, officials said.

State officials said UPS did not adequately implemented its COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, including enforcement of face coverings, social distancing and health screening.

Speedway

The Speedway gas station and convenience store in Waterford Township was fined $6,300. An inspection was initiated under the MIOSHA State Emphasis Program for service industries.

Officials said Speedway let employees wear face coverings under their noses and mouths or not at all. Speedway didn’t monitor or enforce the adequate use of face coverings by employees that could not maintain social distancing, officials said.

Speedway didn’t conduct daily employee health screenings before shifts, according to the state.

The business is accused of failing to keep a record that training was completed for the firm’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plan at the worksite.

Officials said Speedway didn’t train employees how to recognize symptoms of COVID-19.

The firm did not make a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan available to employees at the worksite, officials said.

Speedway didn’t appoint an onsite monitor to enforce the firm’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plan while employees were working, according to the state.

Speedway didn’t provide free face coverings for workers, authorities said.

Customers weren’t told they had to wear face coverings inside the building, officials said.

Coop’s Iron Works

The fitness center was fined $2,100. An inspection was done after a referral from the Saginaw County Health Department noted several confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with the facility, which was operating indoors in violation of the executive order.

The business didn’t develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, officials said.

Coop’s Iron Works didn’t provide COVID-19 training to employees that covered workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protective equipment, steps the employee must take to notify the business of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis, according to the state.

Employees weren’t screened when they got to work and they weren’t required to wear face coverings within six feet of each other, officials said.

There were no signs outside the entrance telling people not to enter if they were sick or had COVID-19 symptoms, according to authorities.

Officials said Coop’s Iron Works didn’t configure workout stations to allow 10 feet of distance between sessions when feasible.

The business didn’t maintain accurate records of gym attendees, including date and time of visit, name of attendees and contact information to aid with contact tracing, state officials said.

The steam rooms and saunas were open, authorities said.

Dan Freed

The residential contractor was fined $6,400. A programmed inspection was performed at a Grand Ledge job site.

Workers were allowed to be within six feet of each another when it was feasible to be farther apart, officials said.

The business didn’t require workers to wear face coverings when they did not consistently maintain six feet of separation, according to the state.

Authorities said Dan Freed did not develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, which would have included requirements for social distancing and use of face coverings.

Employees weren’t trained on COVID-19, including social distancing and the use of face coverings, officials said.

Dan Freed also violated other workplace safety standards, leading to additional fines that were included in the $6,400, according to authorities.

Hills Roofing

Hills Roofing was fined $5,300. A regular programmed inspection was performed at a Niles jobsite.

Workers were allowed within six feet of each another when it was feasible to be farther apart, officials said. They weren’t required to wear face coverings or maintain social distancing, according to authorities.

Hills Roofing didn’t develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, which would have included requirements for social distancing and use of face coverings, state officials said.

Officials said employees weren’t trained on COVID-19 social distancing and the use of face coverings.

The employer also violated other workplace safety standards, leading to additional fines that were included i the $5,300, authorities said.


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