President Joe Biden is calling on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to impose workplace safety rules mandating employers to require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly. The rule would apply to private sector employers with 100 and more employees and those that contract with the federal government.
Most employers in Michigan are covered by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and, as an OSHA-approved state plan, MIOSHA would be required to implement the final federal rule expediently — as soon as 35 days.
While details of the President’s proposal have not been released, MMA has long fought for, and we continue to fight for, the right of employers to maintain control over decisions that impact their business. Broad stroke employment mandates fail to recognize the unique nuances of each workplace, workforce and community. Flexibility to implement suitable workplace safety policies is critical to employee safety, talent recruitment and retention, and the ability to compete in a global economy.
MMA has also had a strong position of support for vaccination as the best method to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Voluntary incentive programs to promote vaccination make sense. However, government mandates that place enormous costs and logistical burdens on employers while they struggle with fragile supply chains and talent shortages could be devastating to our burgeoning economic recovery. Providing incentives is the logical and most successful approach to dealing with the pandemic.
As we keep a close eye on developments with this proposed OSHA rule and any other developments that stand to impact our industry, MMA’s Government Affairs team is available to assist manufacturers with questions about COVID-19 workplace safety recommendations.