Michigan Rescinds Emergency COVID-19 Rules for the Printing Industry

On June 22, 2021 The Governor of Michigan, through Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) announced revised Emergency Rules for COVID-19 . These Emergency Rules supersede all prior emergency rules, including those issued on May 24, 2021. The new Emergency Rules state that the previous state specific requirements no longer apply to manufacturing and other industries, except for healthcare industry employers. Printing operations are now able to create their own internal standards and best practices to keep workers safe from COVID-19 based on each company’s unique circumstances.

The rules now incorporates by reference the recent United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued on June 10,2021 and the updated guidance for all other industries -  Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace Although not specifically mentioned in Michigan’s new emergency rules, MIOSHA will assuredly be relying upon these guidelines in its oversight and enforcement of businesses.

Federal OSHA’s guidance clearly states that vaccinated employees no longer need to wear face coverings or practice social distancing. Federal OSHA’s guidance now focuses on protecting unvaccinated employees from being exposed to the COVID-19 virus unless stricter state or local laws apply. The guidance has several main components:  

  • Protecting and consideration for accommodating at-risk workers (i.e., those that cannot get vaccinated or those with conditions that may affect the workers’ ability to have a full immune response to vaccination). 
  • Protections for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers. 
  • Steps to encourage workers to get a COVID-19 vaccination. 
  • Incorporation of up-to-date guidance issued by other entities, such as the CDC.  

The protections for unvaccinated or at-risk employees have remained unaltered and they include enforcing the proper use of face coverings or PPE when appropriate, implementing physical distancing requirements, maintaining ventilation systems, and separating from the workplace all infected people, all people experiencing COVID symptoms, and any unvaccinated people who have had a close contact with someone with COVID-19.  

Federal OSHA reiterated that its guidance does not impose any legal requirements. However, OSHA has been using its authority under the Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), which requires employers to provide their workers with a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.   

PRINTING United Alliance has developed a fact sheet on the new Federal OSHA’s guidance, which is free to members.

We will continue to track developments at MIOSHA and Federal OSHA and will share with you any updates on revisions to guidance and regulatory activities. For more information, please contact PRINTING United Alliance’s Government Affairs Department at govtaffairs@printing.org or Adriane Harrison, VP of Human Relations Consulting at aharrison@printing.org.   

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