New Michigan COVID Workplace Safety Rules Implemented Following State Supreme Court’s Rejection of Executive Orders

MIOSHA_Whitmer_Michigan_CovidAfter the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 in early October, both the governor and the state legislature moved promptly to enact new rules and pass legislation to fill the gap left by the court’s rulings. Many of these orders, emergency rules, and laws focus on rights and protections for Michigan workers.

Most significantly, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), at Gov. Whitmer’s direction, issued Emergency Rules on October 14, 2020, that address the steps and precautions the state’s employers need to take to keep workers safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.

Employer Requirements in Emergency Rules Mirror Those in Previous Executive Orders

Many of these rules mirror Gov. Whitmer’s previous workplace safety orders, essentially adopting all the employer requirements outlined in Executive Order 2020-184, “Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19.” Accordingly, employers who adopted policies and procedures that complied with that now-invalidated order should continue those practices under MIOSHA’s Emergency Rules.

General Requirements

The general health and safety requirements in the Emergency Rules are simple and straightforward. Subject to the specifics contained in the Rules, all employers covered by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (most employers in the state) must do the following:

  • Develop and implement a written COVID‑19 preparedness and response plan consistent with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID‑19 (“Plan”) as well as current CDC guidance.
  • Promote frequent and thorough hand-washing.
  • Require workers who are sick to not report to work or work in an isolated location.
  • Prohibit workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, tools, or equipment when possible.
  • Increase facility cleaning and disinfection.
  • Conduct daily health screening of those employees who are not working remotely, including a questionnaire asking whether workers have experienced symptoms and temperature checks if possible.
  • Keep a record of screening conducted for all employees and visitors who enter the workplace.
  • Provide personal protective equipment to employees.
  • Require that employees wear masks when they cannot maintain six-feet of separation.

As was the case with the governor’s Executive Orders, the Emergency Rules also include specific sections imposing additional health and safety obligations on:

  • Outdoor businesses
  • The construction industry
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Sports and exercise facilities
  • Public accommodations
  • Retail stores
  • Personal care services
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Casinos

Michigan Business Owners: Call Kreis Enderle With Questions About COVID-19 Safety Requirements  

We know this is an unprecedented time for business owners. Kreis Enderle remains steadfastly committed to providing guidance, counsel, and advocacy to help our clients weather the storm.

If you have questions regarding the latest Emergency Rules or any other aspects of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts your business, please contact the Business Law and Employment Law Practice Groups at Kreis Enderle today.

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