This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Check out the magazine archive.
Since 2007, manufacturing-related injuries have decreased by 16 percent. This is due in part to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) strong collaboration with employers.
MIOSHA offers workplace safety and health assistance to Michigan employers and manufacturers through its Consultation, Education and Training Division. The agency’s onsite program offers penalty free hazard assessments to employers, while its Training and Consultation Section conducts safety seminars, workshops, and other programs to enhance worker protections.
MIOSHA works with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) biannually to update the MIOSHA section of the Michigan Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Regulations, which includes chapters devoted to broad applications of MIOSHA safety and health issues. The agency also participates with the DEQ in conferences around the state to provide updated compliance information.
Consultations with MIOSHA are a free service with no citations or penalties. Michigan manufacturers can request a consultative visit simply by visiting www.michigan.gov/miosha or calling 517-284-7720.
As experienced industrial hygienists, MIOSHA’s health consultants can help manufacturers recognize, evaluate and control physical, chemical or biological health hazards in the workplace. In all cases, a hazard survey of the facility is conducted to determine what potential hazards employees may be exposed to, often followed by air monitoring in the breathing zone of several employees to more accurately characterize the hazard.
MIOSHA regulates approximately 500 chemicals which have established exposure limits. Most of the air monitoring analysis is performed by MIOSHA’s accredited laboratory. Lab results are reviewed and reported back to the company, where recommendations for hazard control are made on a case-by-case basis, and may include a combination of control methods. As a last line of defense, personal protective equipment (i.e., respirators, goggles, gloves, etc.) are an acceptable method to minimize exposure.
Consultants from MIOSHA also instruct at Michigan’s Industrial Ventilation Conference, held every February at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Courses are offered in ventilation system design and managing industrial ventilation systems, along with workshops on troubleshooting industrial ventilation systems and combustible dusts. More information about the conference can be found at www.michiganivc.org.
The Agency’s Asbestos Program ensures people working with asbestos are properly trained and that those performing asbestos removal comply with appropriate rules. The program enforces national requirements from the EPA regarding the accreditation of asbestos workers, supervisors, inspectors, project designers, and management planners. It goes above and beyond national requirements by requiring that contractors performing asbestos abatement work in Michigan be licensed by the program, and that contractors ensure clearance air monitoring is performed at the conclusion of certain abatement projects.
These supplementary requirements are proactive approaches to protecting workers and the public. Without them, there would be less assurance that contractors conducting this work are knowledgeable about the safe removal and handling of asbestos-containing material.
MIOSHA consultants also provide asbestos standard training as part of the MIOSHA Training Institute. Courses are scheduled annually and offered in each region of the state.
For more information or questions regarding MIOSHA’s Asbestos Program, manufacturers should visit www.michigan.gov/asbestos or call 517-284-7680.