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Rights and responsibilities of Michigan employers under MIOSHA

Passed in 1974, the Michigan Occupation Safety and Health Act established certain rights and responsibilities for all Michigan employers. These rights and duties not only work in the best interest of employers but also protect employee rights, which were discussed in an earlier blog post.

Whenever an employee makes a safety complaint to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the employer has the right to ask for a written copy of the complaint at the time it is being investigated. Employees can, however, request that their names be kept confidential, especially if they fear reprisals. MIOSHA must notify an employer if the allegations were not substantiated by the investigation.

Employers have several other rights, including the following: they can request that investigations be conducted in ways that do not reasonably interfere with their work. An employer or representative also has the right to accompany investigator and ask to confer with MIOSHA representatives once an inspection has been completed.

An employer has the right to know whether any conditions pose imminent danger within the workplace. Once the source of imminent danger is identified and removed or kept out of service or use, an employer can request that a MIOSHA area supervisor make an on-site follow-up inspection.

An employer can request an informal appeal within 15 days after receiving a MIOSHA order to appear before the department. The employer can also appeal a formal decision by petition to the MIOSHA department within 15 days of receiving the decision.

All employers can participate in hearings and are entitled to obtain copies of final decisions. Every employer accused of violating workplace safety regulations also has the right to seek legal advice in cases where there are allegations of workers' compensation violations or where lawsuits over safety have been filed against the employer.

Source: Michigan.gov, "Employer rights and duties," accessed on April 15, 2015

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