December 6, 2021

Volume XI, Number 340

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December 03, 2021

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

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 She also clarified that the Emergency Rules could be rescinded at any time if COVID-19 infection statistics permit.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.

© 2021 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 104
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About this Author

Steven H. Hilfinger, Foley Lardner, Senior Lender Counsel, Global Finance Lawyer
Partner

Steve Hilfinger is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. He has more than 25 years of transactional and finance experience, including representing private and public companies, senior lenders, mezzanine lenders and borrowers, venture capital funds and private equity funds, automotive suppliers and other manufacturers. Mr. Hilfinger focuses his practice in corporate and securities law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, private equity and venture capital transactions, debt and equity finance transactions, business...

313-234-7123
RobNederhood, business lawyer
Senior Counsel

Robert Nederhood is a senior counsel and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP where he focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, and represents public and private companies in connection with transactions, corporate restructurings, and commercial contracting. He also has experience representing both debtors and purchasers in connection with the sale of companies in bankruptcy, and assists clients with a variety of Michigan state government matters.

313-234-7154
Jeffery Kopp, Labor Attorney, Foley and Lardner Law Firm
Partner

Jeffrey S. Kopp is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP. He has represented and counseled clients in various labor and employment, FMLA, OFCCP and EEO compliance, unemployment, workers compensation leave, and non-compete and trade secret matters. Mr. Kopp is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice, the Automotive Industry Team and the Trade Secret/Non-Compete Task Force. Mr. Kopp also represents employers in matters involving federal and state occupational safety and health agencies, including matters involving employee fatalities...

313-234-7140
Kenneth A. Johnson Business Attorney Foley & Lardner Detroit, MI
Associate

Kenneth Johnson is a business law associate with Foley & Lardner LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Transactions Practice.

Previously, Ken served as a summer associate at Foley’s Detroit Office. Prior to joining Foley, Ken worked as a summer associate assisting with bond issuances and real estate matters for public schools. He was also a founding member of the University of Michigan Health System Finance Development Program, where he worked as a finance and strategy consultant prior to law school.

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313.234.2727
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