New Michigan group convening this week to develop COVID-19 workplace rules

Members are tasked with developing rules to phase in a return to in-person office work
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA)  and CDC coronavirus graphics.
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and CDC coronavirus graphics.(MIOSHA/CDC)
Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 2:17 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - As Michigan’s economy reopens step by step, a requirement for as much remote office work as possible remains among the restrictions affecting the most people.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services require any office workers who feasibly can work from home to continue doing so. Office workplaces were linked to 275 COVID-19 outbreaks statewide over the past six months, which the sixth most among all settings.

The state’s new Return-to-Office Workgroup will begin meeting this week to develop rules and practices for office-based employers to welcome back workers. The group is tasked with developing recommendations for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, MIOSHA and state health officials to implement when offices fully reopen.

“Congregation in any setting creates risk,” said Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. “Employers have implemented innovative approaches to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and bringing this new group together will provide a mechanism to capture key insights to align policies with best practices and health guidance.”

The Return-to-Office Workgroup includes a mix of business, government and public health leaders from across Michigan. They plan to consult state lawmakers while developing a phased-in plan for resuming in-person office work.

Some MIOSHA emergency rules aimed at preventing COVID-19 spread in the workplace will be extended while new safety rules developed with the new workgroup will be implemented.

“The establishment of this group ensures the recommendations will be based on real-world feedback from a diverse set of business, labor and public health experts,” said Dr. Pranav Kothari, director of health care strategy for the Rock Family of Companies. “The members of this group have been navigating the unique COVID-19 challenges in their field and are prepared to make informed recommendations.”

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