State Updates Return-to-Work Safety Guidelines, MIOSHA Emergency Rules for the Workplace

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today announced changes to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) COVID-19 emergency rules as many employers return to in-person work. 

Gov. Whitmer also announced an updated Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order, eliminating outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings to 50% capacity, which is set to take effect on June 1. 

As part of a bipartisan agreementMIOSHA filed updated COVID-19 emergency rules in accordance with the MI Vacc to Normal plan and recent health guidelines and orders. Now that the state has reached the 55% vaccination threshold, MIOSHA has removed the requirement that employers must create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” The agency has also rescinded the draft permanent COVID-19 rules, and the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 26 is canceled.  

MIOSHA has updated other aspects of the emergency rules to reflect the recent order from MDHHS and guidance from the CDC. Those changes include: 

  • Employers may allow 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. 
  • The rules have been reformed focusing on performance, eliminating industry-specific requirements. Definitions have been updated to more clearly reflect changes in close contact and quarantining requirements for fully vaccinated employees. 
  • Cleaning requirements have been updated to reflect changes in CDC recommendations. 
  • Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules. 

Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan will host a webinar tomorrow, May 25 at 2:30 p.m., to further explain the updates.

While the updated emergency rules will expire on Thursday, Oct. 14, as this announcement demonstrates, MIOSHA has the flexibility it needs to ensure consistency with public health guidelines and can rescind all our parts of the rules.    

Visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety for additional information. 

MDHHS also updated its COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order, eliminating outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings, including weddings, conferences, and funerals, to 50% capacity. Under the new order, which goes into effect Tuesday, June 1, and continues through Thursday, July 1, masks will continue to be required indoors for individuals who are not yet vaccinated.  

MDHHS continues to urge Michiganders to follow CDC guidance, even where not specifically required by an epidemic order, including masking up at schools, on the bus or train, and in congregate settings such as prisons and homeless shelters. People who are not fully vaccinated are recommended to mask up outdoors in crowded settings like a baseball game or concert. Organizations and businesses have the authority to put into place policies and guidelines that make sense for their operations, and for the safety of their employees and customers.        

The latest COVID-19 information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.     


Related:

Chamber Influences Breakthrough Deal on COVID-19 Restrictions and State Budget Negotiations  

Gov. Whitmer Unveils ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ Plan, Vaccine Milestones to Allow Returns to Office


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