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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2005 House Bill 5447: Ban writing new business ergonomic regulations
  1. Introduced by Rep. Rick Jones (R) on November 29, 2005, to prohibit the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) or other state agencies from imposing rules and regulations regarding workplace “ergonomics.” This agency has been convening a “workgroup” for many months to draft such rules. Recent budget bills (Senate Bill 276, Public Act 156 of 2005) have prohibited funds from being expended for this purpose. Business groups have protested the workgroup and walked out of its meetings.
    • Referred to the House Commerce Committee on November 29, 2005.
      • Reported in the House on January 17, 2006, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the House on January 17, 2006, to replace the previous version of the bill with one containing technical changes that do not affect its substance as previously described. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on January 17, 2006.
  2. Passed 56 to 45 in the House on January 17, 2006, to prohibit the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) or other state agencies from imposing rules and regulations regarding workplace “ergonomics.” This agency has been convening a “workgroup” for many months to draft such rules.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on January 18, 2006.
    • Referred to the Senate Economic Development, Small Business and Regulatory Reform Committee on January 18, 2006.
      • Reported in the Senate on January 19, 2006, with the recommendation that the bill pass.
  4. Passed 22 to 14 in the Senate on January 24, 2006, to prohibit the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) or other state agencies from imposing rules and regulations regarding workplace “ergonomics.” This agency has been convening a “workgroup” for many months to draft such rules.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Vetoed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on February 3, 2006.

Comments

Sen. Jacobs' "no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on January 25, 2006 
Senator Jacobs' statement is as follows:

To me, this bill is a premature strike at standards that the advisory committee hasn't even had the chance to even fully formulate yet. So far, the committee has proposed open-ended and flexible standards which would require only a minimal level of training and a process for assessing and responding to risk factors.

The majority of members on the advisory committee, interestingly enough, are all from the business community. To name a few, we have the Michigan Health and Hospital Association; the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.; Ford Motor Company; Tower Automotive; Dow Chemical Company, and so on. These are businesses who would not promulgate job-killing or onerous standards for themselves, and they certainly are not going to do them for the state of Michigan.

By conservative estimates alone, on the economic burden as measured by compensation costs, lost wages, and lost productivity, we are talking about between $45 billion and $54 billion annually. It is important that we let the committee finish their work so that we can begin to address the skyrocketing costs to Michigan businesses.

I know that Michigan is struggling with the high cost of health care. Here is a very direct way that we can reduce some of these costs. To me, there is nothing in conflict with protecting the health and safety of our workers and telling businesses that Michigan is a great and a fair place to do business.

With that, I ask my colleagues to vote "no" on this bill. Stand up for Michigan workers and do the right thing.


Sen. Basham's "no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on January 25, 2006 
Senator Basham, under his constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of House Bill No.5447 and moved that the statement he made during the discussion of the bill be printed as his reasons for voting "no."

The motion prevailed.

Senator Basham's statement is as follows:

I, too, oppose this legislation for a lot of reasons. In most businesses, as the previous speaker spoke, they would support this type of legislation and proof that for every $1 invested in ergonomics there is a $2 return, at least. In the state of California, they invested substantially in ergonomics and got a substantial return in savings. We all know the costs of health care and worker's comp are skyrocketing. This is one of those tools that corporations could use, all businesses could use. To lower those costs, we do not want our employees to do repetitive jobs, whether that's at a bank or at an assembly line, to have to be off work for surgeries like carpal tunnel syndrome and others. So this is a win-win. If this bill does not pass, it allows the committee to continue to see where and let them develop the best practice for ergonomics in this great state.

Again, there are some businesses out there that would like to have no restrictions on anything and no guards on motors or no standards at all. Quite frankly, they think they would survive, but if you treat your employees properly and you take care of those issues when it comes to doing repetitive motions, a happy employee actually saves the companies' money.

For many, many reasons, this piece of legislation is bad legislation. Again, it's tampering with the study committee to promulgate rules. I would encourage members to not support this legislation.


Rep. Bieda's "no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on January 18, 2006 
Rep. Bieda, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

I voted 'no' on House Bill 5447 (H-1) because I believe that this bill will, contrary to its proponents claims, result in higher business costs due to more workplace injuries. Currently, testimony from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) indicates that 50% of all worker compensation claims are from strains, sprains and repetitive motion injuries. Many of Michigan's premier employers recognize this fact, indeed General Motors, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler all have their own ergonomic standards. It has been conservatively estimated by OSHA that ergonomic injuries are costing our nation's economy more than $50 billion annually. It seems to me that workers and businesses would benefit from a well thought out ergonomic standard that would prevent expensive crippling repetitive motion injuries.

I also note that the Ergonomic Advisory Committee was created by MIOSHA under the Engler Administration to look at ergonomics issues within the state. This committee was composed of individuals representing management and labor as well as representatives from the Department of Consumer and Industry Services. The legislature should allow the committee to continue its work in promulgating workplace rules under the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Because of these concerns, I voted 'no' on House Bill 5447."


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