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MIOSHA COVID-19 Workplace Safety Ambassador Program surpasses 2,000 free consultations for Michigan businesses
March 02, 2021
MIOSHA and NSF International help employers minimize COVID-19 risks, find strong implementation of workplace safety requirements
March 2, 2021
Media Contact: Camara Lewis, 517-930-4928
Over 2,000 businesses across Michigan have participated in the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) COVID-19 Workplace Safety Ambassador Program since September 2020. MIOSHA in partnership with NSF International provides workplace safety ambassadors who help Michigan businesses better implement COVID-19 regulations and best practices. Overall, the Ambassadors have reported high rates of willingness to participate, compliance with COVID-19 workplace safety requirements, and eagerness to enhance protocols as suggested by the consultants.
“Businesses have been through a lot over the past year, and they need support as we continue our economic recovery,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “MIOSHA’s Ambassador program helps businesses implement effective COVID-19 safety measures and follow public health guidance for free. I am proud of this new program, and I encourage business owners to take advantage of this opportunity to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to reopen and stay open.”
To better capture the business response, a new MIOSHA video documents the Ambassador Program and highlights several Michigan businesses speaking about the benefits of the program.
“This free educational program can help Michigan employers protect their employees, customers and local communities from the spread of COVID-19,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “We have found the majority of the state’s job providers are implementing strategies to keep their workplaces safe and we encourage them to utilize the Ambassador Program and all of MIOSHA’s COVID-19 safety resources.”
Employers, who might normally be hesitant to invite workplace safety regulators into their businesses, are embracing the Ambassador Program. As part of the MIOSHA program, NSF ambassadors work with Michigan businesses to ensure they understand and implement the appropriate COVID-19 workplace safety regulations. Through both pop-in and scheduled visits, they offer free education and one-on-one support to help businesses apply safety precautions to their individual situations.
To date, the educational outreach program utilizing NSF staff has been primarily focused on retail stores, restaurants and fitness centers, but recently MIOSHA announced it would begin offering Ambassador visits to childcare centers across the state. Internal MIOSHA consultants will also provide Ambassador services to other industries upon request.
Ambassadors have reported that over 90%of businesses visited are complying with face covering, cleaning and disinfection and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements. But the Ambassadors have seen opportunities for continued education and improvement in employee training, record keeping, COVID-19 signage and written plan documents.
“We commend MIOSHA for establishing the Ambassador program to help Michigan businesses further reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace through voluntary and cooperative safety education and training,” said Rich Studley President & CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
Employers can request a COVID-19 workplace safety Ambassador visits online. NSF Ambassadors plan to visit thousands of additional Michigan businesses during the coming months. Businesses that participate in the Ambassador program may receive official signage from MIOSHA to recognize their COVID-19 workplace safety commitment.
“Our Ambassadors have seen a great appetite for COVID-19 workplace safety education among Michigan businesses," said Paul Medeiros, Managing Director of Consulting and Technical Services at NSF International. “Business owners can see that the Ambassador visits are consultative, collaborative and valuable. We are here to help them succeed during the pandemic and stay open safely with the appropriate COVID-19 controls in place.”
Educational materials in the Ambassador toolkit can be found at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety, including:
- Sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan
- Re-opening checklist
- MIOSHA guidelines
- Factsheets for employers and employees
Individuals with specific questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the hotline at 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219).
Businesses looking to schedule their free consultation with a MIOSHA Ambassador can get started at, Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.
“This is one of those opportunities where the state is just here to help,” said Mike Stack, owner, Applied Fitness Solutions. “The Ambassador Program can help accelerate the process of implementing good guidelines to keep staff and customers safe, while saving your business money and time.”
“The program has been great because the Ambassador is there to show you how to improve and correctly implement safety precautions,” said Kris Spaulding, owner, Brewery Vivant. “This process has helped build up confidence that we are doing our best to keep staff and customers safe.”