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Workplace Safety

A message from the Director, COVID Workplace Safety, State of Michigan Labor and Economic Opportunity, Sean Egan

A message from the Director, COVID Workplace Safety, State of Michigan Labor and Economic Opportunity, Sean Egan

In light of the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling and questions around its impact on MIOSHA’s work to ensure workplace safety during the COVID-19 crisis.  We know that the ruling has created confusion and led to many questions on which rules are, or are not, in effect governing workplace safety.

MIOSHA’s authority to conduct investigations and enforce workplace safety protections arises from statute.  The state legislature tasked the agency with ensuring that employees are provided safe work environments that are free of recognized hazards.  This is not impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision. MIOSHA will continue to operate within its statutory authority to protect Michigan’s workers and keep workplaces safe. 

The safety requirements MIOSHA has been enforcing relating to COVID-19, and the citations issued to date, are based on MIOSHA’s statutorily supported general duty clause, which requires all employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. 

As it relates to COVID-19, employers must continue to comply with current workplace safety guidance published by the CDC, OSHA, and other applicable public health guidance. The guidelines, found at Michigan.gov/COVIDworkplacesafety, include mitigation strategies and protections provided in CDC guidance for Businesses and Employers, and OSHA guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19

Among these strategies are having a preparedness and response plan, conducting daily health screenings, ensuring social distancing, providing cloth face coverings, providing PPE, the use of engineering (e.g., physical barriers) and other administrative controls, as well as record keeping.  

Over the coming days and weeks, as we review the impacts of the Supreme Court advisory opinion, we hope the lines of communication and discussion can continue to be open.  We look forward to our continued collaboration with Labor and employers to keep workers, customers, and communities safe from COVID-19.  We will continue to act quickly to add clarity and information as we move forward and will certainly continue to communicate that to you.