Michigan extends remote work order as COVID-19 cases spike

The state of Michigan extended workplace safety rules and restrictions until mid-October as cases of COVID-19 spike.

The rules require that employers continue to implement policies for remote work when feasible.

Related: Michigan workplace restrictions to extend 6 months

In-person work is allowed when remote work is not possible, but employers must take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus at work.

If a business is resuming in-person work, it must have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to employees that covers workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment, steps workers must take to notify the business of COVID-19 symptoms or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis, and how to report unsafe working conditions.   

More: Whitmer, MDHHS ask high schools to go virtual, residents to avoid dining in restaurants

"As we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the rules reinforce the importance of keeping workplaces safe for employees from COVID-19 transmission," said COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. "We want employers to create a safe work environment for their employees, which is why we will continue to work with employees and businesses to help them understand how to safely stay open." 

Workplace outbreaks between Sept. 3, 2020, and April 1, 2021, included 670 in manufacturing and construction, 250 in restaurants and bars, 374 in retail, 332 in office settings, and 52 in personal care services, according to data from the state.

VIEW: Where are the most COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan?

"It’s important to note that the emergency rules implement workplace safeguards for all Michigan businesses," MIOSHA director Bart Pickelman said. "The rules also include requirements for specific industries, including manufacturing, construction, retail, health care, exercise facilities, restaurants and bars."   

Since March 2020, Michigan employers have reported more than 40 worker deaths from COVID-19, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration has received more than 12,000 complaints from employees alleging COVID-19 hazards in the workplace. Also, more than 605 referrals were received from local governments, including local health departments, indicating that businesses were not taking all the necessary measures to protect their employees from infection. 

The extension is until Oct. 14, but it could be modified or withdrawn if there are changes in the virus spread.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health can contact MIOSHA at 855-723-3219. Click here to learn more about workplace safety guidelines