When the MI Supreme Court struck down Gov. Whitmer’s COVID-19 Executive Orders, MI OSHA responded quickly to fill the void, and last week issued a series of COVID-19 Emergency Regulations. When Gov. Whitmer signed the “Emergency Rules Order,” Michigan became only the second state in the country with a set of enforceable, COVID-19 specific regulations. While many of the requirements set forth in the new rules mirror the Governor’s prior EOs, having a prescriptive rule in place makes it that much easier for MI OSHA to issue citations to employers.
Given MI OSHA’s aggressive use of the General Duty Clause to support a series of citations after an inspection blitz over the summer, Michigan employers should expect enforcement to continue in a similar manner, making compliance with these rules all the more important. Participants in this webinar learned about the requirements of MIOSHA’s COVID-19 emergency rules and steps to take to avoid citations, including:
MIOSHA’s new COVID-19 emergency rules, which became effective immediately and which will remain in effect for 6 months, require employers to:
conduct workplace risk assessments for COVID-19 exposures;
develop a written exposure control plan; and
adopt a series of workplace protections.
“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 their workplaces safe and their employees healthy,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I will continue to work around the clock with my partners in labor and business to ensure protections for every Michigan worker.”
Because MIOSHA’s rule uses pretty vague language and is lean on detail, the agency has already begun to issue FAQs explaining what some of the provisions of the rule mean. Here is the first batch of FAQs:
While MIOSHA had already been aggressively citing employers under the General Duty Clause over the past few months, most of those citation directly referenced Gov. Whitmer’s now-invalidated COVID-19 Executive Orders. Michigan employers can now be cited for violating these specific regulations. At the same time, however, Republican legislators have sent a series of bills to Governor Whitmer that include liability protections for employers that comply with MI OSHA guidelines, making compliance with these rules all the more important.
Employers with operations in Michigan wishing to avoid citations should take the following 5 steps as soon as practically possible: (1) Assess; (2) Plan; (3) Protect; (4) train; and (5) document.
STEP 1: Conduct Workplace Assessment & Make Exposure Determinations (ASSESS)