October 22, 2020

New Emergency Rules for COVID-19 in Effect in Michigan

New emergency rules issued by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) establish workplace safety requirements for all businesses in the state as well as specific requirements for industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail, healthcare, gyms and fitness centers, and restaurants and bars. The rules require businesses that resume in-person work to develop and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and to provide employee training on workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protective equipment, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Employers must also train workers on how to report signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. In addition, MIOSHA’s new rules address basic infection prevention measures, health surveillance, workplace controls, and recordkeeping. The rules took effect on Oct. 14 and will remain in effect for six months.

The full text of the rules is available in PDF form from the website of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. The department’s COVID-19 workplace safety guidance page includes links to state guidelines by industry, a sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, and a reopening checklist.

Michigan has reported approximately 168,000 total cases of COVID-19, according to CDC. Over the last seven days, Michigan’s rate of 19.2 cases per 100,000 population is slightly higher than the average of 18 per 100,000 for the U.S. as a whole.

Michigan is the third state to adopt emergency standards related to the pandemic. In August, Oregon OSHA proposed a temporary rule that would require employers in the state to implement measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID‐19 in all workplaces. An update dated Oct. 21 states that the agency is currently making changes to the temporary rule based on guidance on face coverings issued by the Oregon Health Authority on Oct. 19. Oregon OSHA intends to issue a new complete draft of the rule by late in the day tomorrow, Oct. 23. Further information on the agency’s rulemaking process is available on the Oregon OSHA website.

In July, Virginia became the first state to adopt an emergency workplace safety standard for the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia’s emergency temporary standard went into effect on July 27, and the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board has provided notice that it intends to adopt a permanent standard for infectious disease prevention within six months, with an effective date no later than Jan. 27, 2021.