New Michigan Employer Requirements: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and Training

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is one of the first states to identify rules for employers to clarify which safety requirements must be followed by all employers to protect employees from COVID-19. These rules went into effect immediately on October 14, 2020 and will be in place for six months.

These new emergency rules are required for all businesses that resume in-person work. These businesses must have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide training to their employees on workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), steps workers must take to notify their employer of any symptoms of COVID-19, a suspected case of COVID-19, or a diagnosis of COVID-19, and procedures to follow to report unsafe working conditions.

In addition to the response plan and required training, businesses in certain industries, such as manufacturing, construction, retail, health care, restaurants and bars, and exercise facilities, are subject to further industry specific requirements for their workplaces.

Exposure Risk Determination for All Job Roles

Prior to creating the written COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, employers should evaluate each job role within their business to determine the exposure risk category.

  • Lower exposure risk: No contact with public or other workers.
  • Medium exposure risk: Contact with coworkers and/or the general public. Frequent and/or close contact (i.e., within 6 feet) with people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
  • High exposure risk: High potential for exposure to sources of COVID-19 (such as healthcare professionals, law enforcement, employees in nursing homes, medical transportation workers, mortuary workers, etc).
  • Very high exposure risk: Very high potential for exposure to known sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, postmortem or laboratory procedures (including healthcare, dental and morgue workers performing aerosol-generating procedures).

There is additional OSHA guidance available as additional resources for assisting with determining the exposure risk:

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

A written plan should be developed and implemented to prevent employee exposure to COVID-19. The plan should include details on risk determination for each job as described above as well as addressing the following:

  • Engineering Controls – things put in place to provide barriers between the worker and potential exposure to the virus. This can include things such as air filters, increased ventilation, physical barriers like plexiglass, etc.
  • Administrative Controls – Procedures and practices put in place such as staggered work schedule, teleworking, increased social distancing.
  • Hand hygiene and environmental surface disinfection – required regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment. This should include areas such as offices, common areas like breakrooms, bathrooms, any shared electronic equipment and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • Personal protective equipment – what PPE will be required. If an employee is in a high or very high exposure risk and will be in frequent or prolonged close contact with known or suspected cases of COVID-19, the employee must be provided with and wear, at a minimum, an N95 respirator.
  • Health surveillance – required screening protocols to identify known or suspected COVID-19 cases prior to the start of the work shift. Employees should be required to report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and should be sent home if a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 following current guidance from the CDC. If an employee has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, employers should let coworkers know of potential exposure while keeping the identity of the employee with the positive diagnosis confidential.
  • Training – all employers should provide training related to COVID-19 exposure prevention which should include how to report signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The completed COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan should be made readily available to employees and their representatives. This can be done via website, internal network, or a hard copy provided to employees.

COVID-19 Safety Coordinator

Employers should designate at least one person as a COVID-19 safety coordinator. This individual (or individuals) will implement, monitor, and report on the COVID-19 control strategies required for the worksite. A COVID safety coordinator should be on-site at all times when employees are present.

Worksite Postings

Employers should place posters encouraging staying away from work when sick, proper hand hygiene practices, and cough and sneeze etiquette. These postings should be in languages common at your worksite.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers are required to maintain a record of all of the following for at least one year from the time of generation:

  • Training records
  • Screening Protocols for each employee or visitor entering the workplace
  • Records of Required Notifications including notifications associated to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the workplace

Additional Recommendations and Requirements for Specific Industries:

See the following links for additional requirements for specific industries:

Additional Resources

For additional information and guidance, please see the following:

What to Do If An Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

If you have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19, there are a number of steps you should take to ensure compliance with the various federal, state and local requirements. Detailed below some of the current recommendations for employers:

CDC Recommendations Continue reading

New Department of Labor FAQs Related to COVID-19 and Federal Labor Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued more guidance for employers and workers related to rights and responsibilities under federal leave and wage and hour laws related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates were made to guidance for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Highlights of the updates are included below. Continue reading