Michigan dials back COVID workplace rules as state prepares to fully reopen

MIOSHA adjusts rules to align with federal standards

An office building closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is dialing back its COVID-19 workplace rules as the state prepares to fully reopen.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the state’s rules will now align with Federal OSHA’s standards, starting Tuesday (June 22). The updated rules will be in effect until Dec. 22, 2021.

As a result, the emergency rules issued May 24 are rescinded. Those rules were announced two weeks after Michigan reached the milestone of 55% of eligible residents with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The updated MIOSHA emergency rules adopt the Federal OSHA ETS and focus on health care settings where known or suspected COVID patients might be present, the state announced. These workplaces might have a higher exposure risk for employees and need continued protections to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“As we continue to get Michigan back to work, our priority remains keeping workplaces safe for employees and protecting customers as they support these businesses,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “With our state at full capacity, we can boost our economic Jumpstart and ensure businesses can emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever while keeping their workers safe.”

Dialing back workplace rules for non-health care settings allows employers to use their best judgment in determining whether to continue requiring daily health screenings, masks and social distancing.

MIOSHA strongly encourages workplaces to follow the available CDC and OSHA recommendations to mitigate hazards.

“MIOSHA has a duty to protect Michigan workers and the agency’s emergency rules have provided employers and employees with the guidance and certainty they needed to stay safe,” a state release reads. “These updated rules demonstrate that the agency has the flexibility it needs to ensure consistency with federal OSHA.”

Non-healthcare settings should align policies with CDC guidelines to make sure they help contain the spread of COVID-19, officials said. Federal OSHA has updated guidance for non-healthcare employers, as well.

“These updates recognize the great progress we have made in Michigan to contain COVID-19 and the power of vaccinations,” Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan said. “We will continue to provide critical workplace protections more focused on areas of increased COVID-19 risk. In non-health care settings, it’s important that all employers recognize that they have a general duty to provide a safe workplace.”

Residents can ask for MIOSHA’S consultation, education and training services by calling 517-284-7720. Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health can contact MIOSHA at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.