Michigan Safety and Health Authorities Launch Hospital Initiative

Source: Chaiyapruk Chanwatthana/123RF

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has launched a state emphasis program (SEP) that will be in effect through December 31, 2020.

This SEP will increase MIOSHA’s presence in hospitals to enforce the requirement to provide appropriate PPE to protect hospital staff and ensure they can continue to care for those most in need.

As they provide medical care to the most severe cases of COVID-19, hospital employees are at the highest risk of exposure and their employers must provide PPE to protect them.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare workers have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

As of June 24, 2020, the CDC reports 84,557 cases and 469 deaths from COVID-19 among healthcare workers in the U.S. In Michigan, 15 hospital worker fatalities were reported to MIOSHA as potentially related to COVID-19.

PPE shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic have posed a tremendous challenge to the hospitals across the nation, resulting in rationing, recycling, and other strategies to make the best use of the limited supply of PPE.

In the coming weeks, MIOSHA will conduct enforcement inspections in Michigan hospitals.  If the inspections determine deficiencies in the employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, including not providing appropriate PPE, citations and penalties will be issued.