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Michigan COVID-19 Restrictions Extended

On Monday, April 12, 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is extending workplace COVID-19 restrictions, which were set to expire on April 14, for another six months. Accordingly, the MIOSHA Emergency Rules, which went into effect on October 14, 2020, will remain in place until October 14, 2021. The Governor explained that the extension of the Emergency Rules was necessary considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

Given that Michigan employers have been operating under the Emergency Rules for the last six months, most employers are familiar with their obligations. As a reminder, pursuant to the Emergency Rules, businesses that resume in-person work must, among other things, have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to their employees that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.  

Included in the Emergency Rules is a controversial remote-work policy rule that requires Michigan employers to direct employees to work at home “to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” Under the extension of the Emergency Rules, employers must continue to implement policies that require remote work for employees where remote work is feasible, to help ensure that COVID-19 transmission is mitigated to the maximum extent possible. While in-person work is permitted when remote work is not feasible, remote work is recommended as a strategy to minimize in-person contacts and is included in guidance from the CDC and federal OSHA to protect employees in the workplace.

In addition, there are several specific obligations under the Emergency Rules that apply to those operating in certain industries, including construction, manufacturing, retail, libraries, museums, restaurants, bars, health care, in-home services, personal-care services, public accommodations, sports and exercise facilities, meat and poultry processing, and casinos.

MIOSHA has created an Emergency Rules Fact Sheet to assist employers with compliance which may be accessed here.

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