The first steps in re-engaging the state’s economy came when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer began easing the restrictions of her Stay Home, Stay Safe order and allowed businesses in certain sectors to reopen.
Now, as the COVID-19 curve continues to flatten and the state moves toward the fourth phase of Whitmer’s six-phase plan to restart the economy, state officials are issuing guidelines required to keep the workplace, and workers, safe.
As the curve continues to flatten and many businesses reopen their doors, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Friday issued workplace guidelines for employers and employees and created a new hotline, 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219), to answer guideline questions and further protect Michigan’s workforce from the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, MIOSHA provided further clarification the construction and manufacturing sectors must take to protect workers that have returned to work. The State of Michigan’s Workplace Safety Guidelines can be found on LEO’s homepage.
“We have to be smart about protecting our workforce and issuing these guidelines helps us ensure businesses reopen safely,” LEO Director Jeff Donofrio said. “And when employers have the proper guidance to protect their employees and customers, we can all do our part to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and continue to save lives.”
On a scale from low to very high, exposure determination is the leading factor to the level of precaution an employer should take to protect their employees and can vary within the same facility.
Employers must create a written exposure control plan which includes exposure determination and outlines measures that will be taken to prevent employee exposure to COVID-19, including as appropriate:
- Engineering controls
- Administrative controls
- Hand hygiene and environmental surface disinfection
- Personal protective equipment
- Health surveillance
- Training incorporating the latest guidance for COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Governor’s Executive Orders on reopening industries.
A key component to prevent the spread of COVID-19, state officials said, is the ability for employers to provide adequate training on potential risk to their employees. Under these guidelines, MIOSHA encourages training that includes steps the employee must take to notify the employer of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
Employers are to provide updated training to employees if changes are made to its exposure control plan or new information becomes available about the transmission of COVID-19.
“As the governor follows the science and data to re-engage our economy, our first priority is to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19,” MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman said. “If employers follow the workplace guidelines, we can ensure Michiganders can return home healthy and safe.”
Best practices that employees need to follow to be vigilant in protecting themselves from exposure to COVID-19:
- Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- Limit contact with others by remaining six feet apart
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and tools routinely
- Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Practice self-screenings to check for any symptoms.
The new toll-free number will provide additional support, utilizing experienced MIOSHA staff, to best answer questions from employers and workers to quickly respond to inquiries related to COVID for all involved. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219).