COVID-19 pandemic: Michigan OSHA steps up PPE enforcement in hospitals
Lansing, MI — Michigan OSHA is increasing its presence in hospitals as part of a recently launched state emphasis program aimed at ensuring health care employers are providing workers who care for COVID-19 patients with the personal protective equipment they need, the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity has announced.
Hospitals across the country have faced shortages of PPE since the pandemic began, leading to rationing, recycling and other measures to preserve supplies, according to the department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that at least 600 health care professionals nationwide have died from COVID-19. In Michigan, 15 hospital worker fatalities have been reported to MIOSHA as potentially related to the disease.
If deficiencies in an employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plans – including not providing appropriate PPE – are found during an inspection, MIOSHA will issue citations and penalties. Employer compliance will be based on existing MIOHSA standards, CDC and federal OSHA guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19, and Executive Orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The program will be effective through the end of the year.
“It is especially important that frontline workers coming in direct contact with this disease have the equipment to protect themselves,” MIOSHA Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan said in a July 2 press release. “MIOSHA will conduct inspections of hospitals to help ensure employees are properly outfitted with PPE and employers are following the standards put in place.”