Michigan governor signs executive order expanding worker protections as state prepares to reopen economy

Gretchen Whitmer calls for appointment of new director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety

Michigan (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-91 to ensure robust protections for Michigan workers as she continues to re-engage parts of the economy.

This executive order requires all businesses to adhere to strict safety guidelines to protect their workers, their patrons, and their communities from infection.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 51,915 as of Monday, including 4,915 deaths, state officials report.

“I know many businesses and workers are eager to get back to work. This executive order provides a roadmap of how to do that in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of Michiganders first,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “COVID-19 has changed how we must think about workplace safety. Because every worker in every industry across this state is impacted by the threat of this virus, we must work with our businesses to educate them on their responsibilities and then we must be diligent in ensuring that they abide by them.

To foster compliance, the governor also signed Executive Directive 2020-6 to appoint a Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

“The vast majority of Michigan businesses are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, but we must do more to ensure Michiganders are safe at work,” said Whitmer.

“This executive order, and the Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety, will help ensure employers take the needed measures to protect workers and customers from the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to work around the clock with LEO Director Donofrio and my partners in health care, business, and labor to ensure protections for every Michigan worker.”

“The Governor’s actions make sure that as we reengage our economy, workplaces are safe for employees and customers,” said Jeff Donofrio, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “The Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety will help to coordinate safety guidelines across workplaces and ensure workers and employers know the latest ways to keep us safe.”

Under Executive Order 2020-91, businesses that resume in-person work must, among other things, develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it available to employees and customers by June 1.

“We’re grateful to Gov. Whitmer for taking action today to save lives and hold down the spread of this awful virus,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “It’s not right to force people back to work without making sure they’re kept safe. Anyone returning to work should know they’ll be safe in their workplace, and our state should be acting to hold bad actors accountable. We’ll continue to work with the Michigan Economic Recovery Council and with all our affiliates to make sure that guidelines are clear and consistent to keep everyone safe at work, and that families aren’t in danger when folks return home.”

Businesses must also provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of 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.

Under Executive Directive 2020-6, all state departments and agencies that are responsible for enforcing workplace health-and-safety standards must monitor workplaces for compliance with the rules adopted in Executive Order 2020-XX and, as necessary, take action to enforce the order and ensure compliance.

To view Executive Order 2020-91 and Executive Directive 2020-6, click the links below: