Senate panel approves measure banning ergonomic mandates

LANSING — Legislation to ban administrative rules mandating workplace ergonomics rules in Michigan was approved Wednesday by a Senate panel, said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake.

The Senate Economic Development Committee, chaired by Kowall, approved Senate Bill 20. The measure is expected to be taken up soon by the full Senate and sent to the House of Representatives.

“Job providers cannot afford to have these burdensome regulations in place,” Kowall said. “Right now we have to focus on making Michigan an attractive place to do business, so job providers stay or locate here and offer our residents good-paying jobs.”

California, which just passed Michigan in unemployment rates, is currently the only state with separate mandatory workplace ergonomics rules. Ergonomics standards are indicated in the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration guidelines and companies must operate under these rules. The state of Washington previously mandated workplace ergonomics rules, but the law was overturned by voters there.

According to Charlie Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business organization, Michigan having its own set of ergonomics standards does not “throw out the welcome mat to businesses.”

Studies show that state ergonomic rules could cost Michigan employers an extra $400 to $500 million.

“I’m glad my colleagues on the panel approved this vital legislation,” Kowall said. “I look forward to this proposal becoming law and I’m sure Michigan businesses are anxiously awaiting it too.”