Fox 2 Detroit: Michigan Rep. Stevens wants to form task force that would publish safety guidelines for workers

WASHINGTON – As Michigan’s officials ponder the best ways to restart the economies, the state’s industries are looking for guidance to keep their workers safe while ramping up production. 

On the heels of the City of Detroit posting its safety guidelines comes a bill introduced by Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) that calls for the creation of a federal task force focused on worker protection. Under the Essential Worker Protection Act, an interagency task force would publish and disseminate the best practices to companies for how to keep their employees the safest they can be.

The guidelines would be applicable to grocery stores, restaurants, manufacturing facilities, pharmacies, utilities, postal delivery, and other critical work sites. 

It is essential for these enterprises, as well as other workplaces that will be coming back once their state shut down period, concludes, that we provide full transparency of scientific data and research on COVID-19 to understand and inform the best health guidelines for workplaces and workers,” read a statement from Stevens.

Operated under the U.S. Labor Department, the agency would be manned by officials from several departments, as well as members of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and “any other federal agency the Secretary of Labor deems relevant.”

Relevant steps the agency could offer include, appropriately scheduling workers in manufacturing, deep cleaning practices, and education and training for employees going back to work.

On Monday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan showed off the COVID-19 Safe Workplace Standards, the manual that essential city workers have followed when they go to work. After conversations with several private companies over the weekend, he said many asked for guidance in how to protect their workers.

“I want to have the reputation that the city of Detroit has the strictest medical protocols in the country for bringing people back to work,” said Duggan. “I want every Detroiter that’s coming back to work to feel as safe going back to the workplace as I do every single day going into the 11th floor at city hall.”

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