MiOSHA Workplace Order for COVID-19

Posted Jun. 15th 2021

On May 24, 2021, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MiOSHA) issued a new COVID-19 workplace safety emergency order, effective immediately, incorporating many of the provisions contained in a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) order formally issued the same day (and effective from June 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021). A copy of the order is availablehere. The updated MiOSHA order attempts to resolve conflicts created by an earlier MDHHS order that exempts persons who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from certain indoor face covering and physical distancing mandates. Until now, those exceptions did not apply to workplaces.

Under the new MIOSHA order:

  • Work can be in-person; there is no longer any requirement that work be done remotely if feasible.
  • Vaccinated employees are not required to wear face coverings or maintain physical distancing in the workplace, unless the employer requires it or other legal mandates apply.
  • Employers are not required to make inquiries of all employees regarding their vaccination status or require proof of vaccination status. Instead, an employer may comply with the current rules by posting signs in the workplace advising employees that are not fully vaccinated that they must always wear face coverings and maintain appropriate physical distancing. For example:

Any employees, except fully vaccinated persons, must continue to wear face coverings when they cannot consistently maintain 6 feet of separation from other individuals indoors in the workplace.

But several requirements remain in place. Among them, employers must still have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan consistent with CDC guidelines, and which is immediately accessible to employees and MiOSHA auditors. Current plan requirements include:

  • Employers must conduct daily entry self-screening protocols for all employees and contractors, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to anyone with possible COVID-19.
  • Employers must require employees who are sick not to report to work or to work in an isolated location.
  • Employers must make masks available at no cost to all employees who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Employers must require masks whenever employees who are not fully vaccinated cannot consistently stay 6 feet apart and ensure that unvaccinated employees stay 6 feet apart as much as possible. Compliance measures include keeping records of vaccinated employees, posting signs concerning masks and distance, allowing remote work, or requiring face coverings and social distancing for all employees regardless of vaccination status.
  • Employers must provide COVID-19 training to employees, including information on vaccination, use of personal protective equipment, and notifying the employer of symptoms or infection.
  • Employers are required to provide a place to wash hands and promote frequent, thorough handwashing.
  • Employers must implement procedures to regularly clean and disinfect surfaces, especially for frequently-touched surfaces.
  • Employers must limit shared use of equipment and other work tools to the extent possible.
  • When an employer learns that an employee, visitor, or customer has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the employer must, within 24 hours, notify any co-workers, contractors or suppliers who might have come into contact with the person reporting a positive test.
  • Employers must maintain COVID-19 compliance records for a minimum of 6 months.

MiOSHA continues to respond to complaints and has engaged in highly-publicized and controversial enforcement action. Although MiOSHA has ceased its efforts to make many of the current rules permanent, it is unclear whether or how these rules might change in the near future. If you have questions regarding compliance with the various MiOSHA and MDHHS directives, or if you need help updating your COVID-19 preparedness and response plans to meet the new requirements, please feel free to contact Randy Barker at (313) 566-2500