GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As we edge closer to a return to normalcy in Michigan, workplace safety rules are set to be relaxed after an agreement made this week between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders.
Employers are still operating with COVID-19 workplace regulations set by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, such as masking, distancing and temperature checks.
“We don’t feel like we’ve been at the table for the last 14 months, at least in regard to this response to COVID,” said Rep. Luke Meerman, R-Coopersville. “The people’s voice isn’t there, the legislators’ voice.”
Current MIOSHA rules were on course to become permanent, but plans were abandoned because of increasing vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases falling and updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“We said ‘wait a minute, the people need a voice in all this,'” said Meerman. “We had 5,000 people write in through us and give feedback on what should happen. To me that’s an overwhelming voice of the people speaking — please don’t make these permanent.”
Meerman is happy with the change. He says the MIOSHA rules had a big impact on businesses in his district.
“My business owners in the 88th district, a lot of them were afraid to stick their head out, afraid to say what I think they really felt because their license was being held over their head, in essence their livelihood,” said Meerman. “They were scared about fines.”
On Monday, employers will no longer have to ask employees who can work from home to do so, under MIOSHA’s updated rules.
No date is set for when other rules may change for employees, such as masking and distancing.