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Big Week for Michigan's Ergonomic Standard

Michigan's proposed ergonomic standard passed a significant test on Jan. 14 when the General Industry Safety Standards Commission and the Occupational Health Standards Commission voted unanimously to forward Draft 17 of Ergonomics in General Industry to the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth for informal approval. DELEG is the parent agency of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). Tomorrow is the deadline for bids to be submitted to DELEG's Lansing office to research and prepare the Regulatory Impact Statement for the proposed standard, with an award scheduled to be made Thursday.

The proposed standard is two pages long. It exempts construction, agriculture, mining, domestic employment, and jurisdictions covered by the Federal Railroad Administration. The standard defines "ergonomic hazards" as "conditions where intervention may be necessary to prevent a musculoskeletal disorder." The standard states that "All employees shall be given ergonomic awareness training that covers all of the following:
(a) Ergonomic occupational risk factors
(b) Signs/symptoms that indicate an ergonomic hazard may be present
(c) Process for reporting that an ergonomic hazard may be present
(d) Process for assessing and responding to ergonomic occupational risk"

The proposed standard requires covered employers to maintain records documenting the training provided; an employer may accept previous training documentation for (a) and (b). The two commissions added a provision to the rule that makes it effective six months after the rule is filed with the Michigan secretary of state.

The winning bidder will sign a contract to prepare the Regulatory Impact Statement in two months, with the term of the contract being approximately Feb. 27 through April 30, according to the 44-page invitation to bid. A Joint Evaluation Committee chaired by NIOSHA will evaluate the bids and make an award recommendation to the DELEG director, Stanley "Skip" Pruss.

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