October 15, 2020
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued an Emergency Order that closely follows the former Executive Orders in restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and childcare facilities, placing capacity limitations on stores, bars and other public venues to provide safer workplaces.
The Emergency Order comes under a legal authority enacted by the Michigan Legislature after the Spanish Flu of 1918 specifically to deal with epidemics. That statute was not at issue in the Supreme Court’s ruling which rescinded Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders. Violations of this order are a misdemeanor. Local health departments and law enforcement are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order.
To ensure workplace safety the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has issued Emergency Rules which clarify the safety requirements employers must follow to protect their employees from COVID-19.
There are now two agencies -MDHHS and MIOSHA- which are in effect placing the same COVID safety regulations as the former Executive Orders. Very simply, MDHHS regulations protect the consumers and MIOSHA does the same in the workplace.
The MIOSHA website has many resources with sections that are industry specific along with business informational posters for employees and customers, factsheets and videos. The MIOSHA website: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-100207—,00.html. The website also includes a sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.
To enhance MIOSHA’s consultative services, the newly launched MIOSHA Ambassador Program will send safety and health experts to businesses statewide now to offer education and support, with a focus on workplaces with a higher risk of community transmission. To request consultation, education and training services, call 517-284-7720 or online at MIOSHA Request for Consultative Assistance.
For more information about MIOSHA’s safety and health guidelines to protect Michigan’s workforce during the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).
To report health and safety concerns in the workplace, go to Michigan.gov/MIOSHAcomplaint.
Monday, October 5, 2020
The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled the 1945 law the Governor was relying on in order to issue Executive Orders is not a valid law. The Court found the 1945 law gave overriding power to the Executive Branch of government excluding the Legislative Branch and thereby disrupts the balance of power between the two branches of government.
The Court’s ruling finds the law is invalid therefore all of the Executive Orders issued related to COVID-19 are invalid.
The Michigan Legislature will begin working immediately to set new COVID-19 standards in place. In the meantime businesses still have an obligation to follow public health code and OSHA requirements to provide a safe work environment and liability concerns.
Businesses should follow the MIchigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) guidelines for COVID-19 workplace practices. The MIOSHA website has many resources with sections that are industry specific and business posters
The MIOSHA website: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-100207—,00.html
If you have created COVID workplan based on the template we provided then you have a plan in place that follows the MIOSHA practices.