MIOSHA withdraws coronavirus mandates for most workplaces


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — As the state lifts its broadest set of coronavirus restrictions, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also dropping its virus mitigation rules for most workplaces.

Under the new rules, workplaces — with the exception of health care settings — have discretion on requiring daily health screenings, masks and social distancing. Still, MIOHSA advises companies to follow state and federal guidance to slow the spread of the virus.

“These updates recognize the great progress we have made in Michigan to contain COVID-19 and the power of vaccinations. We will continue to provide critical workplace protections more focused on areas of increased COVID-19 risk,” Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan said in a statement. “In non-health care settings, it’s important that all employers recognize that they have a general duty to provide a safe workplace.”

The latest changes goes effect Tuesday and are scheduled to expire Dec. 22. MIOSHA says it brings Michigan in line with guidance from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency is pivoting to focus on health care settings where COVID-19 patients may be.

Spectrum Health says it is continuing to keep some 8,000 workers who aren’t involved in patient care virtual and probably won’t bring them back to the office until at least January 2022.

In a Tuesday statement, Chief Human Resources Office Pam Ries said the keyword moving forward is flexibility and that Spectrum “do(es) not anticipate a one-size-fits-all return-to-office plan.”

“Throughout the pandemic, Spectrum Health has taken an intentional approach to gathering input and laying out various options for returning to the office based on roles and what works best for certain teams. Of our 31,000 team members, about 8,000 people are working virtually. We have shifted to a virtual first philosophy, which means that even when herd immunity is reached, we are embracing virtual work.  We know the future of work is all about more flexibility, and we’ve learned that productivity remains strong.  For example, we have some finance, billing, human resources, and IT roles that can effectively work from home long term. We have other teams that benefit from collaboration and face-to-face interaction and would like to be in the office at times. We provide guidance for leaders to consider as they are discussing the best approach with their teams – ranging from virtual to flexible to on-site. We do not anticipate a one-size-fits-all return-to-office plan. We have already communicated to team members that we will provide advance notice before moving into the next phase and do not anticipate a return to the office until January 2022.  There may be some roles that have a business need to return sooner which we will carefully evaluate.  We’ll continue discussions and leaders will make decisions based on roles and what works best for each team.”

Pam Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer at Spectrum Health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Gatherings and Face Mask epidemic order ran out Tuesday, allowing restaurants and other businesses to reopen to 100% capacity and scrapping mask mandates, even for people who have not yet been vaccinated.

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