Michigan’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently began a lobbying campaign to kill any proposed ergonomics standard for the state.
According to Charles Owens, NFIB state director, neither the governor’s office nor the legislature was aware of the current push to create an ergonomics standard. “I would characterize [the lawmakers’] reaction to the rule at this point as irritated surprise,” Owens told Occupational Hazards magazine. Owens is also a former member of the Michigan state ergonomics advisory committee, but he resigned from the group when it became clear to him that the decision to develop a rule had already been made.
MIOSHA Director, Doug Kalinowski, noted that to be enacted, any state ergonomics standard would still have to arrive at a consensus agreement by all interested parties. “If there’s polarization, it’s very unlikely any rule will be finalized,” Kalinowski told Occupational Hazards.
Nationally, the NFIB has a history of fighting ergonomics regulation. The group contributed heavily to last November’s successful attempt to overturn the Washington state ergonomics standard. Additionally, the group once referred to the U.S. standard passed during the Clinton administration and subsequently overturned during the early days of the Bush administration as “the most expensive mandate ever imposed on small business.” The group put forth a grassroots effort consisting of fax alerts to its members in order to raise awareness and help overturn that standard.
Sources: Occupational Hazards; NFIB