Governor Whitmer and MIOSHA issue emergency rules to protect workers amid COVID-19

(MGN Online)
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:14 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is one of the first state OSHA programs to create rules, which clarify the safety requirements employers must follow to protect their employees from COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Governor Whitmer signed an Emergency Rules order that will help protect Michigan workers, existing businesses, and patrons from COVID-19.

“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.”

Under the Emergency Rules, businesses that continue to work in-person must, among other things, have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to their employees that covers the following: workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), 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.

Safety guidelines are set aside for all industries, including manufacturing, construction, retail, health care, exercise facilities, restaurants and bars.

“As we reengage our economy, the Governor’s actions reiterate the importance to keep workplaces safe for employees and protect customers from COVID-19 transmission,” said COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. “These rules will formalize the workplace safety guidelines previously in place, and are necessary to save lives. We will continue to educate workers and employers on requirements for businesses to get open and stay open.”

Since March, employers have reported 30 worker deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan and 127 in-patient hospitalizations potentially linked to workplace exposure. MIOSHA has received over 3,800 complaints from employees alleging COVID-19 hazards in the workplace as well as 263 referrals from local government.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the working folks I’ve talked to have been most concerned about avoiding catching this awful virus at work and bringing it home and spreading it to their families,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help these people protect themselves and their families, because we can’t have a strong economy when people are catching a deadly virus just by showing up to work.”

To view the Emergency Rules, click here.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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