Senate approves Jones ban on ergonomic mandates

LANSING — Legislation to ban administrative rules mandating workplace ergonomics rules in Michigan was approved Thursday by the Michigan Senate, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bill 20 would prohibit the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Association from enacting mandatory ergonomics rules. Voluntary guidelines would be allowed but can be no more stringent than federal guidelines.

“I’m glad this vital measure to save Michigan jobs was approved,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Ensuring Michigan job providers are not burdened with unnecessary mandates is a priority for me and Governor Snyder. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House on this bill.”

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.

Gov. Granholm pushed for stand-alone Michigan standards during her two terms. In his first term in the House of Representatives, Jones passed a bill through the House and Senate stopping this but Granholm vetoed it.

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

SB 20 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.