Michigan Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order Implementing Safeguards to Protect Michigan Worker’s From COVID-19

On May 18, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-91, which implements safeguards to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst workers as in-person work and activities gradually resume.

To the extent employers have not already done so in accordance with the Governor’s previous “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Orders, employers must develop a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, which is consistent with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration “Guidance on Preparing Workplace for COVID-19.” The plan must be developed by June 1, 2020 or within 2 weeks of resuming in-person activities, whichever is later. It must also be readily available to employees, labor unions, and customers.

While Executive Order 2020-91 has specific requirements for construction, manufacturing, retail stores, offices, restaurants and bars, all businesses and operations must implement the following safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their workplace:

  1. Designate one or more worksite supervisors to implement, monitor, and report on the COVID-19 strategies developed in the employer’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.
  2. Provide COVID-19 training to employees about the following topics: (a) workplace infection-control practices, (b) the proper use of personal protection equipment, (c) the steps the employee must take to notify the employer of any symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and (d) how to report unsafe working conditions.
  3. Conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, which includes a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19.
  4. Keep everyone on the worksite premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.
  5. Provide non-medical grade face coverings. N95 masks and surgical masks should be reserved for health care professionals, first responders, and other critical workers.
  6. Require face coverings to be worn when employees cannot maintain six feet of separation from other individuals and consider face shields when employees cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation from other individuals in the workplace.
  7. Increase facility cleaning and disinfection to limit exposure of COVID-19, especially on high-touch surfaces, parts, products, and shared equipment.
  8. Adopt protocols to clean and disinfect the facility in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
  9. Make cleaning supplies available to employees upon entry and at the worksite and provide time for employees to wash hands frequently or to use hand sanitizer.
  10. When an employee is identified with a confirmed COVID case, within 24 hours notify: (a) the local public health department, and (2) any co-workers, contractors, or suppliers who may have come into contact with the person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  11. Establish a response plan for dealing with a confirmed infection in the workplace, including protocols for sending employees home and for temporary closure of all parts of the worksite to allow for deep cleaning.
  12. Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible.
  13. Adopt any additional infection-control measures that are reasonable in light of the work performed at the worksite and the rate of infection in the surrounding community.

The Executive Order provides that a failure to abide by these standards constitutes a failure to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards within the meaning of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1011.

Should you have any questions related to the directives of this Executive Order, please do not hesitate to contact your Keller Thoma attorney.

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