MIOSHA COVID-19 Emergency Rules Extended Through October 14, 2021

14 April 2021 Coronavirus Resource Center:Back to Business Blog
Author(s): Steven H. Hilfinger Robert Nederhood Jeffrey S. Kopp Kenneth A. Johnson

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a certificate of need authorizing an extension of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“MIOSHA”) COVID-19 Emergency Rules (the “Emergency Rules”). The Emergency Rules were originally set to expire on April 14, however, the Administrative Procedures Act allows for one six-month extension. The Emergency Rules may now remain in place through October 14, 2021.

Under the MIOSHA Emergency Rules – issued to replace portions of executive orders deemed unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court – employers are required to put in place a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. Critically, as part of the response plan, employers must adopt a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely. The Emergency Rules also dictate that employers must conduct exposure determinations and health surveillance for all employees, provide personal protective equipment for use on the job, and provide training on infection control. Employer resources for implementing the Emergency Rules’ protocols – including a sample COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan – may be found here.

Business leaders have remained vocal opponents of the remote work protocol portions of the Emergency Rules, and groups like Reopen Michigan Safely have lobbied extensively for in-person work to resume. Last month, Governor Whitmer responded by announcing the creation of a Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity working group. The group is tasked with advising the administration on how workers can safely return to offices. A day prior to the renewal of the Emergency Rules, the Governor also stressed that she did not believe residents would remain working from home for another six months. She also clarified that the Emergency Rules could be rescinded at any time if COVID-19 infection statistics permit.

However, calls for loosening restrictions have been tempered in recent days by a severe new surge in cases. The surge, which health experts are linking to the spread of variants of the virus and relaxed social-distancing restrictions, has caused Michigan to lead the nation with higher case rates than any other state. On April 5th, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued new guidance that reinstates a 14-day quarantine standard for those who have had “close contact” with someone who has had COVID-19 to address the rapid rise in case numbers. On April 12, the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that Michigan should “close things down” to help address the outbreak, and Governor Whitmer similarly called for (on a voluntary basis) high schools to offer remote education for two weeks after spring break, youth sports to pause all activities for two weeks and people to avoid eating indoors at restaurants for the same amount of time. Despite these calls to limit activities, many schools and businesses have opted to remain open.

COVID-19 continues to impact companies in all sectors of the economy.  Foley is here to help our clients effectively address the short-term and long-term impacts on their business interests, operations, and objectives. Foley provides insights and strategies across multiple industries and disciplines to provide timely perspective on the wide range of legal and business challenges that companies face conducting business while dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. Click here to stay up to date and ahead of the curve with our key publications addressing today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. To receive this content directly in your inbox, click here and submit the form. 

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services