Lansing, MI – Today, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) announced the launch of a PPE enforcement program that will provide all Michigan healthcare workers with some of the strongest protections in the country.
This launch comes after months of advocacy by the Michigan Nurses Association, including filing MIOSHA charges against Michigan Medicine and Mercy Health Partners – Hackley Hospital after nurses were denied an N-95 respirator or equivalent despite working in situations where they could be directly exposed to COVID-19. The nurses were then prevented from bringing in their own PPE even though their employer was unable to provide them with the protection they need.
“I can’t tell you how disheartening it was to be told that I had to take off my N-95 mask and just return to the simple masks we know don’t provide the same kind of protection,” said Tom Goodman, RN, an Emergency Department nurse at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon. “No nurse should ever be put in that situation.”
MIOSHA will be conducting enforcement inspections in Michigan hospitals and has stated that “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.”
In addition to filing complaints at Michigan Medicine and Mercy Health Partners – Hackley Hospital, the Michigan Nurses Association also assisted non-yet-union nurses in hospitals across Michigan in individually filing MIOSHA complaints as well.
Jamie Brown, a critical care nurse at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo and the president of the Michigan Nurses Association said: “The Michigan Nurses Association is proud that Michigan now has some of the strongest protections for healthcare workers in the country. This program will save lives as we continue to advocate and protect our patients, our families and each other.”
Thousands of healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 as the pandemic rages. In Michigan alone, over a dozen have died.
The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for RNs across the state. As the voice for all registered nurses in Michigan, MNA advocates for nurses and their patients at the Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.
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Contact: Amelia Dornbush; 517-896-7478