Certain industries put workers in more dangerous situations than others. In these high-hazard occupations, employers must follow practices that minimize risks and protect workers.
Unfortunately, this is not always enough to prevent accidents. As such, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is offering financial incentives to businesses that make safety improvements.
Grant terms and goals
The Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) grant program has three strategic goals:
- To have fewer hazards, harmful exposures, injuries and fatalities in the workplace
- To improve employer awareness, compliance with regulations and better workplace culture regarding safety
- To strengthen the public’s confidence in organizational efforts
Under the new program, owners of businesses with 250 or fewer employees can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to make their workplace safer. These improvements can include purchasing safety equipment, developing training and addressing workplace hazards in other ways.
Preference for high-hazard businesses
The agency will give preference to high-hazard businesses, including:
- Wood product manufacturing
- Metal product manufacturing
- Machinery manufacturing
- Transportation equipment manufacturing
- Transportation support activities
- Residential care facilities
The agency identifies these as industries with significant or emerging hazards to workers.
Will this be effective?
While this program won’t harm workers, the degree to which it might protect them remains unknown. The businesses likely to participate may already appreciate the importance of safe workplaces.
On the other hand, it may not be enough to dramatically improve worker safety at businesses that prioritize profits over workers.
Whether you work in a high-hazard industry or not, you deserve to be safe on the job. If you get hurt or identify unsafe workplace conditions, you have rights. You may be able to pursue workers’ compensation benefits for injuries or illnesses. You might also file a complaint before an accident happens.
In either case, your employer’s actions or inaction regarding workplace safety may affect your options.