Today, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) released updated COVID-19 Emergency Rules that effectively eliminated the requirement for most employers to implement entrance screening, mask mandates, and social distancing requirements in the workplace. The new rules contain two key provisions:
- The previous MIOSHA Emergency Rules issued on May 24, 2021 are suspended in their entirety.
- MIOSHA adopts by reference the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recently issued COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS focuses on healthcare settings where known or suspected COVID-19 patients might be present and applies only to those certain healthcare settings. OSHA has created a useful flowchart (here) to aid employers in determining if their workplace is covered by the healthcare ETS, and in turn, MIOSHA’s updated rules.
This means that employers not covered by the healthcare ETS are no longer required to implement screening, mask, or distancing measures as they were under previous versions of MIOSHA’s Emergency Rules. However, employers remain free to continue such measures at their own discretion.
Despite the suspension of COVID-19 safety protocol requirements, employers must still fulfill their general duty under OSHA and MIOSHA to provide a safe work environment, and MIOSHA strongly encourages employers not covered by the healthcare ETS to follow CDC and OSHA recommendations to mitigate COVID-19 hazards. As such, employers may want to consider aligning their policies with OSHA guidance for non-healthcare workplaces, which is available here.
The updated MIOSHA Emergency Rules will remain in effect for six months but are, of course, subject to change.
Nemeth Law will continue to monitor developments surrounding both MIOSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Rules and OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard for healthcare settings. Please reach out should you have any questions regarding implementation of the revised rules.