The Occupational Safety & Health Reporter™ provides complete news coverage and documentation of federal and state occupational safety and health programs, standards, legislation, regulations,...
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ceased work on its ergonomics proposal following direction from the state's new governor, MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski told BNA Jan. 31.
Industry associations within Michigan have opposed MIOSHA's plan to develop a regulation for general industry, pointing to studies that said such a rule could cost employers millions of dollars in an already weak economy.
A joint commission approved a draft rule in 2009, and MIOSHA had been awaiting a regulatory impact statement for the draft that is being developed by an outside contractor before moving forward (39 OSHR 60, 1/22/09).
Newly elected Gov. Rick Snyder (R), however, promised to stop the rulemaking in his State of the State address Jan. 20.
“On the topic of regulatory reform, we will review existing and proposed regulations to create a better environment for economic success while maintaining our duty to protect our citizens and businesses,” Snyder said. “We will partner with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to stop the effort to establish mandatory and overreaching regulations on ergonomic standards that have been discussed for the past few years.”
Had the agency finalized the rule, Michigan would have become the second state, along with California, to have an ergonomics regulation. The U.S. Congress rescinded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ergonomics rule under the Congressional Review Act before it could take effect in 2001.
The draft rule would have established minimum requirements for all general industry employers to train employees on the hazards of poor body alignment and proper technique when making repetitive on-the-job motions. It would have required employers to assess ergonomic hazards and eliminate them to the extent feasible. It would not have applied to construction, agriculture, mining, or domestic employment.
The cessation of Michigan's ergonomics rulemaking comes as OSHA announced Jan. 25 it would temporarily withdraw its own proposal to add a separate column for musculoskeletal disorders to Form 300, which employers use to record injuries and illnesses (41 OSHR 67, 1/27/11).
State labor unions and industry associations had opposing reactions to MIOSHA's decision to stop work on the rule.
“The action taken is unfortunate, it's going to put off our efforts to continue to keep Michigan work sites safer,” Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO, told BNA Jan. 31. “We did not think this was onerous. In fact, some companies had testified at committee hearings that they had saved in worker's compensation costs by implementing ergonomics programs.”
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, however, hailed the decision to stop development of rule they said would costs state businesses millions of dollars.
“If Michigan had moved forward with this mandatory, one-size-fits-all requirement it would have made Michigan quite uncompetitive,” Wendy Block, director of health policy and human resources at the state Chamber of Commerce, told BNA Jan. 31.
Legislation (S.B. 20, H.B. 4128) that would prohibit MIOSHA from promulgating an ergonomics regulation was introduced to both the state Senate and House of Representatives Jan. 19-20.
Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-46th District) introduced the House bill, which was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform, and Sen. Rick Jones (R-24th District) introduced the Senate bill, which was referred to the Committee on Economic Development. The bills are identical.
Michigan's Republican-controlled Senate passed similar legislation in 2009, but it failed in the Democrat-controlled House. Republicans now hold a 63-47 advantage in the House and a 22-16 advantage in the Senate.
Block told BNA the Michigan Chamber of Commerce would support the bills to prevent a future administration from considering an ergonomics proposal in Michigan without specific permission from the state Legislature.
“We don't want to see regulations that go beyond the federal requirements,” she said. “We feel like this bill is necessary to drive a stake in the heart of this rulemaking.”
By Greg Hellman
S.B. 20 is available at http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2011-SIB-0020.pdf.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)