MIOSHA Collaboration with Business Community Supports Safe Workplaces

Michigan businesses working to proactively keep their workplaces safe now have a collaboration at their fingertips through the partnership crafted between the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA) and NSF International.

Businesses across the state can now schedule free COVID-19 safety consultations as a part of that new Ambassador program partnership. Ambassadors are conducting outreach to statewide businesses to offer education and support to implement regulations on workplace safety.

COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan says, “Partnering with NSF allows us to do even more for businesses at a time when we know they need the support,” and adds, “As experts on public health and safety, NSF brings the exact prowess we need during this challenging time. Together, our Ambassadors will help businesses to understand and comply with changing regulations.”

The partnership with NSF International is enabling MIOSHA to drastically expand access to the program immediately. In addition to tier-one education which provides a brief consultation, businesses can now visit the COVID-19 workplace safety website to schedule tier-two consultations, an in-depth assessment of workplace safety requirements, with NSF International. Those in-depth, collaborative meetings will connect employers directly with an Ambassador to identify and implement solutions in their specific workplace free of charge to the business. Tier-two visits are targeted to several at-risk industries including: retail stores, restaurants and gyms.

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Businesses that successfully complete tier-two visits will soon receive official signage to acknowledge COVID-19 workplace safety commitments and efforts to keep customers and employees safe, as shown in the photo accompanying this story.

As Michigan continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, employers must operate in compliance with the current MIOSHA Emergency Rules, MDHHS orders and federal guidelines. Ambassadors will work with business owners and managers to best implement safety directives to help ensure a safe workplace for employees and customers. Ambassadors will utilize the Ambassador Assessment to evaluate required safety precautions and then provide a toolkit of resources for additional ongoing support.

Ambassadors are delivering education toolkits to businesses statewide as part of tier-one efforts for the Ambassador program. The toolkit enables a review of current workplace safety and health procedures to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Ambassadors will not propose citations or issue penalties. They are there to work with businesses to improve conditions and help comply with regulations on workplace safety.

Educational materials in the Ambassador toolkit can be found at this link: http://Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety, including:

  • Sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan
  • Re-opening checklist
  • Posters
  • MIOSHA guidelines
  • Factsheets for employers and employees

MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman says, “We know employers need support, especially as we see cases rise across the state,” and adds, “Thanks to the new partnership with NSF International, we’re now equipped to help even more Michigan businesses. Employers can visit our site right now to sign up for a consultation to work directly with one of our Ambassadors.”

Based in Ann Arbor, NSF International is a global public health organization with a 75-year history of collaboration with businesses, governments and regulatory agencies around the world. The not-for-profit organization protects human health by developing public health and safety standards and providing independent certification and testing services.

Paul Medeiros, Managing Director of NSF International’s Consulting and Technical Services group, says, “Michigan has been a national leader in providing education and resources to local businesses in response to COVID-19 and we’re proud to support that ongoing effort.” He adds, “We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses and institutions around the world to minimize COVID-19 risks for employees and customers. This program will help Michigan businesses understand regulations and best practices so they can keep their doors open.”

The Ambassador program supports businesses from various industries, including retail stores, restaurants, and gyms where community transmission is some times heightened.

Scott Ellis, Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director, says, “We need programs like this to support the business community,” adding, “As business owners, all we want is to keep our doors open and to serve our customers. We’re doing everything we can to create safe spaces, but cases are rising, and we need to be diligent to stem the spread. It’s nice to have support to ensure we are all sharing solutions to keep Michigan safe.”

Employers and employees with specific questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the hotline at 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219).

Businesses can sign up to participate now at http://Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety