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Updated MIOSHA Emergency Rules & MDHHS Epidemic Order

Updated MIOSHA Emergency Rules

On Monday, May 24, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced updates to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) COVID-19 emergency rules as many employers return to in-person work.

MIOSHA updated the following aspects of the emergency rules to reflect the MDHHS May 15 epidemic order and guidance from the CDC. Those changes include:

  • Employers may allow fully vaccinated employees (EEOC Technical Assistance, Section K) to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow the requirements of the rules. (Rule 6)
    • Compliance with the Workplace Controls section of the rules can include keeping records of whether employees are fully vaccinated, posting signage reminding employees that are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from one another to the maximum extent feasible while on worksite premises, or other options included in Rule 6.
    • However, fully vaccinated persons must continue to wear face coverings when in the healthcare setting where patients may be present and when using airplane or public transportation if required by the latest CDC guidance.
  • The rules have been reformed, focusing on performance, eliminating industry-specific requirements.
  • Definitions have been updated to more clearly reflect changes in close contact and quarantining requirements for fully vaccinated employees.
  • Cleaning requirements have been updated to reflect changes in CDC recommendations. (Rule 4)
  • Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules. (Rule 5)
  • The required training for employees must now also include information on vaccinations available for COVID-19. (Rule 7)
  • Employers are still required to conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol 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. For unvaccinated employees, these records must be maintained for six months. (Rule 5 & 8)
  • The employer is no longer required to notify the local public health department when a known case of COVID-19 is identified in an employee, visitor, or customer. Co-workers, contractors, or suppliers who may have come into contact with the person with a known case of COVID- 19 must still be notified within 24 hours. (Rule 5)

The updated emergency rules will expire on Thursday, October 14.

Updated MDHHS Epidemic Order

The governor also announced an update to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19  Gatherings  and  Face Masks  epidemic order, eliminating outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings to 50% capacity. The epidemic order is set to take effect on June 1. As of July 1, all broad epidemic orders will be lifted.

On the matter of masks, unless a person is fully vaccinated, eating or drinking, swimming, or doing one of the strictly enumerated exceptions written into the order, individuals must wear a mask indoors. (Section 5) Business owners or their designee should do the following to enforce this requirement (Section 4):

  1. Post a sign notifying people that wearing a mask is required unless a person falls into a specified exception
  2. Ask patrons not wearing masks whether they fall into a specified exception;
  3. Require face masks of all patrons and employees; or
  4. Implement another policy that will accomplish the same means.

Contact tracing is still required for indoor food service establishments. (Section 6)