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MIOSHA extends emergency rules as virus surges in Michigan

These rules have been extended until Oct. 14, although they can be modified or withdrawn at any time in response to changes in COVID-19 spread.
(MIOSHA/CDC)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With COVID-19 rates in Michigan dwarfing most other states, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has extended its emergency rules. These were originally issued Oct. 14 of 2020 to protect Michiganders from the spread of COVID-19, and they are continuing for the same reason.

These rules have been extended until Oct. 14, 2021, although MIOSHA officials say they can be modified or withdrawn at any time in response to changes in COVID-19 spread.

“MIOSHA’s emergency rules help keep us all safe by ensuring that employers implement common sense safety standards to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “When employers maintain a safe workplace, that gives workers and consumers the confidence to keep our economy moving.”

As cases across the state surge, the protection of workers is MIOSHA’s top priority.

Employers have reported over 40 worker deaths since COVID-19 entered Michigan. The state in total has had nearly 9,000 deaths due to COVID-19.

“As we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the rules reinforce the importance of keeping workplaces safe for employees from COVID-19 transmission,” said COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. “We want employers to create a safe work environment for their employees, which is why we will continue to work with employees and businesses to help them understand how to safely stay open.”

The emergency rules require businesses that resume in-person work to have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to their employees that covers 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 a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.

“It’s important to note that the emergency rules implement workplace safeguards for all Michigan businesses,” MIOSHA director Bart Pickelman said. “The rules also include requirements for specific industries, including manufacturing, construction, retail, health care, exercise facilities, restaurants and bars.”

Under 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.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219). To learn more about the efforts to support a safe reopening in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.

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