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Prepare for Michigan’s new workplace ergonomic standards

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The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth is one step closer to implementing workplace ergonomic standards that will apply to most businesses in the state.

The state’s General Industry Safety Commission and the Occupational Health Standards Commission have approved the new standards. Next up: hearings before the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Commission.

The goal: reducing the number of musculoskeletal and repetitive-motion disorders in the workplace. The new rules will require covered employers to provide ergonomic training to assess and address risks and maintain an ongoing ergonomic effort.

California is the only other state with its own ergonomic standards.

The U.S. Department of Labor started developing national ergonomic standards under the Clinton administration, but those were tabled under President Bush. President Obama has indicated support for national ergonomic standards.

Most Michigan employers should plan now to comply. Only agriculture, construction, mining and domestic workers would be exempt from the new rules.

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