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MIOSHA Relaxes Its Emergency Rules For Office Work

Yesterday, following CDC recommendations and guidance from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) revised its COVID-19 Emergency Rules. The rules will remain in effect until October 14, 2021.

Under the revised rules, employees who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in the workplace. To be “fully vaccinated” means that two weeks after the employee’s second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the single Johnson & Johnson shot. Employers must continue to post signs reminding those who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks and maintain appropriate distance from others. Despite these relaxed mask and distancing rules, employers may choose to still require masks and social distancing for all employees regardless of vaccination status. Employees also may choose to remain masked even if fully vaccinated.

In order to comply with the revised rules, employers must “[keep] records of whether employees are fully vaccinated persons,” which exempts those persons from the 6-foot social distancing and mask requirements. Importantly, the revised rule does not define the type of document that must be maintained, nor does it provide guidance on how to obtain such information. At this stage, the readily available supporting documentation appears to be an employee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, which can be copied for employers’ records. It does not seem that an honor system will suffice.

To the extent that the rules of  the building in which the employer is located differ from the employer’s rules, the building rules should be followed when employees are in common areas, such as elevators or lobbies.

Additional highlights of the revised rules include:

  • Employers no longer have to create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completely remotely.” However, remote work is still an option for compliance.
  • Employers must continue to maintain daily entry self-screening protocols for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, and keep records of the results of those self-screens for six months.
  • Fully vaccinated persons must continue to wear face coverings in healthcare settings where patients are or may be present, and when using airplane or public transportation if required by the latest CDC or TSA guidance (which as of today, they are).

Nemeth Law will continue to monitor any guidance surrounding MIOSHA’s revised COVID-19 Emergency Rules and update you if more information becomes available. Please reach out should you have any questions regarding implementation of the revised rules.

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