MITA has received an immense number of calls from member field employees. Most of them center on safety issues related to COVID-19. Many employees have indicated that their employers are asking employees to provide their own PPE. To clarify, it should be understood that MIOSHA regulations require that employers provide proper PPE to employees at work, which would include masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer (the only exceptions are work boots and gloves for winter).
In short, if the work at hand requires PPE, the employer is required to supply it. Please refer to the industry guidance document by clicking here for information regarding job site procedures that includes steps on how to make your own hand sanitizer.
As it relates to practicing “social distancing” on job sites. The six foot recommended spacing between workers is just that, a recommendation aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. The social distancing recommendations provided by the Governor’s Executive Order and other health agencies indicate that job site social distancing should be practiced “to the extent possible”, or “as feasible”. It is understood that workers may have to infringe on the recommended six foot distance to conduct some work activities.
Another basic procedure that may be helpful is a simple temperature test performed at home prior to going to the job site. Have employees take their temperature before leaving for work. If the reading is normal, have them proceed to work, but if it is running higher than normal, have them stay at home.
Many employers are asking employees how they feel once they arrive. If you don’t get the answer you like, send that individual home immediately.
A common sense approach will help in most situations. Take a minute, think about your particular situation, and develop a plan that fits.
If you are having problems finding PPE, MITA suggests that you turn to your local distillery and/or breweries. Many of these companies across the state have modified their operations to manufacture sanitizers for use by employers at a very fair price.
MITA also suggests that you check local outlets, such as Sam’s and Costco, for other equipment. There are also numerous wholesale sanitary supply companies who are obviously not able to sell their products to bars and restaurants at this time, so check with them, as well. The prudent way to secure these items is either online or by phone first. Many of these outlets have curbside pick-up to lessen exposure to others. MITA is looking for ways to secure N95 masks for members who have to perform work that requires those masks to be used. If you are in need of N95 masks, please email Sara Schaibly, Membership Services Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then be added to a list that will be shared with vendors in the event we find any viable outlets for supplies.