Proos: Michigan cannot afford unnecessary ergonomics regulations

LANSING — The Michigan Senate approved Thursday legislation to ban state bureaucrats from issuing administrative mandate on workplace ergonomics, said Sen. John Proos, who voted for the measure.

“Michigan cannot afford to add up to $500 million in costs to current and future job providers.  We need to be eliminating job-killing regulations, not adding new ones,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This bill will prevent bureaucrats from imposing unnecessary burdens on jobs providers.  It will save jobs and send a positive message to companies looking to come here.  Gov. Snyder supports this positive step, and I am confident the House will join us in getting government out of the way of economic growth.”

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.

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.

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

“New mandatory ergonomics rules are unwarranted and would hurt small and medium-sized businesses in southwest Michigan the most,” Proos said.  “We should pursue policies that encourage job growth and retention.”

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