Ensure Employee Safety With Michigan’s New Driving Laws


Does your business require you or your employees to be on the road at any given point during work hours? Chances are that you or co-workers have been behind the wheel and have taken a call or even made a call that is work-related. It is important that you address the new laws to all your employees and set the standard for safety and compliance with Michigan’s new driving laws.

As of June 30, 2023, it is now illegal to manually use cell phones while driving. This means that you are no longer allowed to hold, support or grab a phone with your hand, shoulder, or arm for calling, texting, browsing social media, or even entering in GPS coordinates while in motion or when sitting at a light or stop sign. Violations of this law could bring costly penalties and up to 48 hours of community service (for a second offense that involves an accident). There are very few exceptions to this law but it includes calling 9-1-1 for emergencies or the use of a phone by a first responder or law enforcement officer for a relevant issue. Voice commands or hands-free applications are still legal to use, assuming that the electronic device is not being supported or held by the driver. For the entire law, reference House Bill No. 4251.

How to approach this new law from an employer perspective?
Speak with all employees and ensure they are aware of this new law. Support needs to be shown from the uppermost level that it’s expected to and encouraged to ignore a call due to being behind the wheel. In today’s work environment, there is significant pressure on individuals to always be available immediately if your direct-report or a customer is reaching out. Advocate for your staff to ignore a phone call to allow themselves enough time to pull over to a safe location to call back. If needed, you can record your voicemail to indicate that you are currently on the road and will call back when it is safe to do so. A simple recording example: I am unavailable to take your call due to currently driving or other circumstances, I will return your call as soon as possible. A voicemail recording like this shows co-workers, clients and customers your commitment to employee safety.
Any safety professional or even someone who is aware of safety best practices is aware of the hierarchy of controls. Within the hierarchy of controls, when met with a hazard, the best way is to eliminate it – or in this instance to not answer a call while driving. However, if you have long drives, or time restrictions on drives, you could very easily implement substitution or engineering controls through Bluetooth devices, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or other USB connection devices found in most newer vehicles. Other means of controls would be to ensure phone mount holders are in every company vehicle, or in all employee vehicles used for work-related jobs. This would have to correspond with a company-specific policy that ensures phones are placed in the mounts before driving and that employees are only able to use a single finger swipe or tap to answer or preferably decline a call while on the road.

Phone use while behind the wheel has been common for the better part of 20 years. It is habitual for people to use, hold or reach for a phone while behind the wheel. Most adults currently in the labor force have had access to a cell phone for their entire or most of their adult lives and have never experienced a time when they did not have the ability to not make a call while driving. These changes will take time to become concrete for you and your employees. Remember that laws are set at a minimum for compliance. You can always go above and beyond requirements. Set your company’s expectations for cell phone use and ensure employee safety above anything else.

Posted in 2023, SEPTEMBER 2023 | Comments Off on Ensure Employee Safety With Michigan’s New Driving Laws

Advocacy Update


Anti-Rental Housing Proposals Released
Rep. Emily Dievendorf (D-77th District) has released an outline for a future set of bills referred to as a “Renter’s Bill of Rights.” In the outline it is stated that this package “seeks to rebalance the power between landlords and tenants, guarantee the safety of housing, codify the right of tenants to advocate for themselves, and to establish fairness in building equity.” Some of the proposals to be included in the package include:
Rent Control
  > Removes ban on local restrictions on rent control policies
• Fee Limitations
  > Restricts application fees and/or the percentage of rent that a landlord can charge for a  rental deposit
• Relocation Assistance
  > Landlord must pay amount toward moving costs for tenants displaced by housing rehabilitation, demolition, or other       breaks in the lease
• Fair Chance (already introduced as HB 4878)
  > Restricts use of criminal record in applicant screening
• First Come, First Served
  > Requires landlords to accept the first application that meets their rental requirements
• Renter Agency for Repairs
  > Allows tenants to take care of repairs themselves and charge landlord
• Right to Organize
  > Prevents landlords from interfering if renters decide to form a union
• Just-Cause Eviction
  > Limits when and how landlords can remove tenants by forcing them to prove that the situation meets a certain standard to justify eviction
• Adequate Notice for Rent Changes
  > Requires certain amount of warning for raising rent
• Right of First Refusal
  > When a landlord puts a building up for sale, this gives tenants the power to band together and put up money to purchase the building
• Right-To-Counsel
  > Guarantees all renters have publicly subsidized legal representation
• Eviction Expungement
  > Creates expungement of eviction history if tenant has caught up on back-end rent
• Credit History
  > Eliminates credit history as means of considering a tenant’s ability to afford a rental residence
• Landlord Licensing
  > Requires landlords to be licensed and complete continuing education


AAM-PAC Support Critically Important

We need your help to maintain our strong voice for the multifamily rental property industry. The Apartment Association of Michigan Political Action Committee (AAM-PAC) accepts contributions from members and aggregates them into one fund, which then financially supports those elected officials who understand the important role of rental housing in Michigan’s economy. You must be an AAM or HBA Member to contribute to the fund, which has a fundraising goal of $150,000 for 2023. Remember, an AAM-PAC contribution must be made via personal, partnership, LLP, or LLC check or credit card.
Posted in 2023, SEPTEMBER 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Welcome AAM’s President: Andrew Kuhn, Sunrise Communities

Andrew Kuhn is the Founder and CEO of Sunrise Communities, a privately held multi-family real estate investment and management company. Since moving to Michigan to start his first real estate investment company in 2006, Andrew has acquired over 1,100 units to date, including 150+ houses and 1,000+ apartment units. His experience spans a range of projects, from stick-built and modular ground-up construction to traditional and historic renovations.

Andrew is active in the community serving on non-profit boards including President of the Detroit Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Co-Chairman of the EO XCentric Regional Conference and is a Young Leader with the Detroit Economic Club. He is also a member of the Detroit Developer Roundtable, Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Front Row Dads.

Andrew is a devoted family man, married to his wife Nicole for 11 years and a proud dad of two daughters. Ava (6) is a first grader at Cranbrook Brookside and Zoe who just turned 3. With what little time left, Andrew enjoys downhill skiing with his family, mountain biking, traveling and working on his green thumb.

Posted in 2023, August 2023 | Comments Off on Welcome AAM’s President: Andrew Kuhn, Sunrise Communities

Fall Protection: Know The Laws


Whether you went rock climbing once as a kid at the local rec center, or work in elevated heights every day, you are aware that fall protection is required to ensure safety. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction industry, according to OSHA. It does not require excessive heights to cause severe injury or even death. In fact, many deaths occur from falls from less than five feet. Protecting employees with fall protection is as simple as ABC.

A – Anchor points: These are the exclusive secured points of attachment for equipment to be tied off to. Anchor points must be capable of sustaining 5,000 lbs., or at least a safety factor of two when installed in accordance with OSHA’s requirements, per person.

B – Body Harness: is a form of secured straps that fit over the user’s body to distribute force over the whole body rather than a single source (such as a belt).

C – Connecting Devices: any rated strap that is designed specifically for and used for connecting the body harness to the anchor point. Some connecting devices may have built-in shock absorbing or decelerating devices.

The ABCs of fall protection must be utilized whenever there is a risk for falling, that is whenever someone is working near a leading edge, on top of, next to, or near anything that is not properly guarded without a fall net present, in order to be in compliance with OSHA. Both OSHA and MIOSHA utilize 29 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 1910 and 1926 regulations for basic fall protection requirements. When it comes down to needing fall protection, you must remember zero-four-six-ten-fifteen (0, 4, 6, 10, 15).

ZERO – If there is any dangerous equipment or significant hazard immediately below (0 feet) where there is potential for employees to fall on or into, then that employee must have a form of fall prevention that does not allow that employee to be exposed to the contact of that hazard. (Ref. 1910.28(b)(6)(i))

FOUR – For all general industry-related activities, if employees are working on a surface four feet or higher off the ground with unprotected edges, they must have fall protection. General industry-related activities may include but are not limited to the following: changing out lights inside or in parking lots, working on HVAC units on roofs, nearly any kind of maintenance, and anything that does not involve maritime, construction or agriculture. (Ref. 1910.28(b)(1)(i))

SIX – For all construction-related activities, if employees are working six feet or higher off the ground with unprotected edges, they must have fall protection. Construction-related activities may include but are not limited to the following: painting, remodeling, installing, or any other related duties that involve constructing something. (Ref. 1926.501(b)(1)).

TEN – For those working from scaffolds, fall protection must be worn when working 10 feet or greater, whenever there is no means of adequate protection from falls. (Ref. MIOSHA R 408.41213(3) and 1926.451(g)(1))

FIFTEEN – For all leading edges that are not guarded, fall protection does not need to be worn if employees are at least 15 feet away from the edge of a roof. The 15 feet away from an edge rule must be implemented and enforced. (Ref. 1910.28(b)(13)(iii)(B)). For low slope roofs, workers who are within 6 to 15 feet from the edge, more specific rules take place (Ref. 1910.28(b)(13)(ii)). For workers who are within 6 feet of the edge, then the duty to have fall protection comes into play for that industry.

Exceptions: there are several exceptions for unique operations, such as certain aerial lifts used in certain ways, using ladders (which have a wide range of rules on fall protection), certain pitches in roofs for construction-related work, initial ascend to install fall protection equipment, or very specific situations where fall protection creates a greater hazard. While this can be used as reference, it is always best to read through all applicable OSHA regulations to ensure you are not only working safely but also within full compliance!

Posted in 2023, August 2023 | Comments Off on Fall Protection: Know The Laws

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written By HBA And AAM CEO, Forrest M. Wall, CAE

Source of Income Bills Move In Senate

Three bills which propose to add “source of income” protections in state law have been approved by the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee for consideration by the full Senate. Senate Bills 205 and 206 would amend the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to forbid a rental property owner from doing any of the following as it relates to source of income:

  • Deny or terminate a tenancy
  • Make any distinctions or restrictions in rental price, terms, conditions, fees, or privileges relating to the rental unit
  • Attempt to discourage the lease of any rental unit
  • Assist, induce, or coerce another person to engage in a practice violating the proposed amendment
  • Coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with rights granted under the act
  • Represent to a prospective or current resident that a unit is not available for inspection or rental when in fact it is available
  • Otherwise make unavailable or deny a unit based on source of income

The bills mandate that a landlord shall not publish or display any notice or ad indicating a preference or requirement based on source of income, and, that a person who “suffers a loss” as a result of violation of the law may bring a court action to recover actual damages or up to 4.5 times the monthly rent of the unit, whichever is greater, along with court costs and attorney fees.

The third bill, Senate Bill 207 would amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to add source of income protection to both the title and section 502 (relating to real estate transactions) of the act.

AAM is opposing the bills as introduced but is working in coalition with several real estate trade associations on potential amendments to the legislation.

Posted in 2023, August 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update