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New MIOSHA Emergency Rules Focus on Health Care Settings

By Rebekah Page-Gourley posted 06-22-2021 14:28


On June 22, 2021, the same day that the last broad Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Gatherings and Face Mask Order expired pursuant to the Rescission of Emergency Orders, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) filed new emergency rules effective through December 22, 2021. The updated rules supersede the emergency rules issued on May 24, 2021, and no longer require Michigan employers to have a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan or to follow the previously outlined COVID-19 protocols for screenings, record keeping, sanitation, mask wearing, and distancing.

The new MIOSHA emergency rules are far narrower than their predecessor, applying only to health care employers covered in the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1001–.1094, for COVID-19. They simply adopt by reference several Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, including 29 CFR 1910, Subpart U (COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard), 29 CFR 1910.502, 29 CFR 1910.504, 29 CFR 1910.505, and 29 CFR 1910.509. OSHA has provided a fact sheet outlining the main components of the Emergency Temporary Standard for health care settings.

According to the press release issued by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity at the time of the new rules:

Dialing back workplace rules for non-health care settings allows employers to use their best judgment in determining whether to maintain:

  • Daily health screenings;
  • Face covering requirements; and
  • Social distancing requirements.

Nevertheless, 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. 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 ensure they help contain the spread of COVID-19. Federal OSHA has updated guidance for non-healthcare employers as well.

The OSHA guidance for employers and workers not covered by the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard includes a number of recommendations for employers to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including implementing distancing for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers, providing face coverings for such workers, providing training, and recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths.