State Rep. Andrew Fink is urging the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to review or return fines that were issued on workplaces as a result of executive orders that were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Many of the infractions are for not enforcing mask use, social distancing infractions, lack of written COVID response plans and similar violations.
In a recent House General Government Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman explained when questioned by lawmakers that the department did not have any plans to review fines that were issued prior to the Supreme Court ruling.
“It makes absolutely no sense that businesses would remain on the hook for these fines when the orders behind them were deemed unconstitutional,” Fink said. “MIOSHA must review these fines that were based primarily on the unconstitutional executive orders implemented last year.”
The committee requested testimony from the department after the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced it would dismiss all pending cases in the county related to COVID-19 executive orders. Many lawmakers, including Fink, believe MIOSHA should follow suit.
Fink also stated MIOSHA has issued several press releases naming workplaces it has cited for rules violations since August. The agency rarely publicized workplace health and safety infractions prior to the pandemic.
“Michigan job providers have experienced enough struggles throughout the pandemic and negative press is the last thing they need,” Fink said. “MIOSHA officials have taken it upon themselves to publicly shame the few businesses that received citations, which has never been standard practice before 2020.”
MIOSHA officials also stated during the hearing that 97 percent of Michigan job providers have been compliant with COVID rules, which is a higher rate of compliance than all other MIOSA regulations.