MIOSHA Rescinds Emergency Workplace Rules as Michigan Returns to Full Capacity

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Michigan returned to full capacity, lifting pandemic gathering restrictions and the state’s face mask orders, as the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) rescinded the existing COVID-19 Emergency Workplace Rules on June 22, 2021. MIOSHA also updated COVID-19 emergency rules for healthcare employers to align with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standards. The new MIOSHA rules suspend the entirety of the agency’s emergency rules previously filed on May 24, 2021 (discussed here) and expressly adopt the federal OSHA standards for the healthcare industry.

Notably, this change allows employers in non-healthcare settings significantly more discretion in determining whether to conduct daily health screenings, enforce face covering mandates, prescribe the level of social distancing, and maintain recordkeeping and requirements for COVID-19 response and preparedness plans. In evaluating their options, employers may consult federal OSHA’s applicable guidance, entitled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” and most recently updated on June 10. That guidance outlines steps for protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in their workplaces. As discussed here, these steps include:

  • Granting paid time off for employees to get vaccinated;
  • Instructing any workers who are infected, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-Co-V-2, and all workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work;
  • Implementing physical distancing for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers in all communal work areas;
  • Providing unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers with face coverings or surgical masks, unless their work task requires a respirator or other PPE;
  • Educating and training workers on the employer’s COVID-19 policies and procedures using accessible formats and language(s) they understand;
  • Suggesting that unvaccinated customers, visitors, or guests wear face coverings;
  • Maintaining ventilation systems;
  • Performing routine cleaning and disinfection;
  • Recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths;
  • Implementing protections from retaliation and setting up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19-related hazards; and
  • Following other applicable mandatory OSHA standards.

Employers outside the healthcare industry are encouraged to review these latest federal OSHA guidelines to foster continued safety in the workplace. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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