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COVID-19 pandemic: Michigan OSHA enacts temporary emergency rules

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Lansing, MI — Michigan OSHA, with the support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), has implemented temporary emergency rules intended to clarify employer requirements for protecting workers from exposure to COVID-19.

Signed Oct. 14 by Whitmer and Sean Egan, COVID-19 workplace safety director for the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the rules went into effect immediately and will remain so for six months.

“While most Michigan job providers are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, these rules provide them with clarity regarding the necessary requirements to keep workplaces safe and their employees healthy,” Whitmer said in a press release.

Under the rules, all employers must have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. They also are required to provide “thorough training to their employees that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.”

The rules include 11 specific to certain industries: construction; manufacturing; retail, libraries and museums; restaurants and bars; health care; in-home services; personal care services; public accommodations; sports and exercise facilities; meat and poultry processing; and casinos.

 

According to MIOSHA, employers in the state have reported 30 deaths and 127 inpatient hospitalizations potentially linked to workplace coronavirus exposure since March. The agency said it has received more than 3,800 complaints alleging uncontrolled COVID-19 workplace hazards and 263 referrals from local government agencies regarding employers not taking proper measures to protect workers.

“These rules will formalize the workplace safety guidelines previously in place, and are necessary to save lives,” Egan said. “We will continue to educate workers and employers on requirements for businesses to get open and stay open.”

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