Jones bill would protect MIOSHA from federal takeover

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation designed to stop the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) from being taken over by the federal program.

In 2015, Congress required the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase its maximum penalties by the cost of living. Michigan is one of 26 states with an OSHA-approved state plan, and all state plans must adopt OSHA’s new maximum penalty levels each year based on inflation.

If Michigan does not comply with the new federal regulations it will lose its state plan and the federal OSHA plan will take control.

“This legislation is essential to keeping MIOSHA in our state and not having the federal government take over,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The impact of a federal government takeover would be devastating. We would lose $33 million in assets, employers’ costs would increase and public employees would no longer be protected, since the federal OSHA plan only covers private employers.

“Losing control of the plan also means that Michigan would lose a voice in developing policies.”

Senate Bill 479 would adopt OSHA’s new maximum penalty level by the cost of living adjustments. An employer would receive a penalty if they are cited for a serious violation of the MIOSHA act.

Under the bill, starting in 2018, the state treasurer would adjust the civil maximum penalties by the consumer price index (cost of living inflation) every January. MIOSHA civil penalty cannot be greater than the amount of the federal OSHA penalty.

“MIOSHA has policies in place to prevent the need for maximum penalties to be issued unless necessary,” Jones said. “Michigan is usually at the very bottom of the list in terms of state plans’ average penalties issued, and I don’t believe MIOSHA will be changing their ways just because of this cost of living increase.”