On April 12, 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a six-month extension of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) workplace COVID-19 restrictions which were set to expire on April 14. However, in a reversal of course, on May 24, 2021, the governor announced important updates to the MIOSHA Emergency Rules as the state has reached a 55% vaccination threshold.
The updated Emergency Rules, which took effect on May 24, 2021, and expire on October 14, 2021, supersede all of the COVID-19 rules that MIOSHA previously had in place. The updated rules introduce several changes which includes the removal of the controversial remote work policy rule, which required Michigan employers to create policies mandating that employees work remotely where feasible. Other changes include the following:
- Allowing fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements.
- Eliminating industry-specific requirements.
- Updating cleaning requirements to reflect changes in CDC recommendations.
- Discontinuing the requirement to notify local public health authorities of a known case of COVID-19.
- Shortening of the recordkeeping requirements from one year to “six months from time of generation.”
It should be noted that while the the rules were updated several of the existing requirement, which had been in place since October 2020, will remain in place, including the following:
- Conducting a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19;
- Developing and implementing a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan;
- Encouraging infection control measures like frequent hand washing;
- Isolating sick employees or ask them to work remotely when sick;
- Designating “safety coordinators to implement, monitor, and report on the COVID-19 control strategies developed under these rules”;
- Requiring social distancing of at least 6 feet for unvaccinated employees;
- Requiring mask use for unvaccinated employees who cannot consistently maintaining six feet of separation indoors;
- Providing COVID-19 training to employees; and
- Notifying any co-workers, contractors, or suppliers who may have come into contact with the person with a known case of COVID-19.