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ErgoNews: Minnesota introduces new Ergonomic Legislation
Minnesota introduces new legislation aimed at improving worker health and safety in distribution centers, healthcare facilities, and meatpacking worksites.
In 2023, Minnesota introduced a Jobs/Labor Omnibus ruling in order to introduce more robust ergonomic requirements across distribution center, health care facilities and meatpacking worksites. Establishing stronger workplace safety requirements, and imposing strict limits on employee incidence rates, signals a positive step forward for worker health and safety in Minnesota. Taking effect on January 1st, 2024 stricter penalties will also be attached to violations of the new standards.
The new legislation, Minnesota Statutes § 182.677, Ergonomics, affects:
- Ergonomics program requirements for the following workplaces:
- Warehouse distribution center employers with 100 or more employees
- Meatpacking and poultry processing sites with 100 or more employees
- Health care facilities
- Warehouse employers with greater than 250 employees will be subject to MNOSHA Compliance authority
- Incidence rates higher than 30% of that year's average at any site will be subject to investigation
- Monthly safety committee meetings will also be required until the incidence rate has returned below 30%
- Effective August 1st, 2023
- Penalty rates will be tied to inflation, "ensuring continued conformity to federal penalty levels"
Several benefits for employers taking advantage of ergonomic programs are also introduced by this legislation:
- One-time funding of ergonomic safety grants awarded to qualifying employers
- Focused on projects reducing the risk of ergonomic injury to employees
- Total of $2 million in grants
- Estimated savings of $12.6 million in workers' compensation costs
Specifics on program dates and details can be found on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry site. With funding grants being awarded to companies developing ergonomic programs, partnering with an established third-party subject matter expert may be the right choice for your company.
Consider Partnering with a Subject-Matter Expert
According to the legislation, ergonomic program plans must be in writing and establish intent to minimize risk of employees developing or aggravating musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
MNOSHA states that the program must include "risk assessment, initial and ongoing employee training, early reporting procedures, a process for employees to propose solutions, procedures to ensure any plant modifications or major construction projects are consistent with program goals, and program evaluation on an annual and process-change basis." Given this lofty requirement, partnering with a third-party subject matter expert, like Briotix Health, can ease the burden associated with the development, implementation, and refinement of any ergonomic program.
Briotix Health offers services designed to deliver a tiered approach to meeting the Minnesota standard.
LEVEL 1: Certified ergonomists can help with the creation and writing of a comprehensive ergonomics plan that meets legislative requirements to ensure compliance.
LEVEL 2: Before writing your ergonomics plan, Briotix Health experts conduct an ergonomic risk assessment to identify areas of current risk. Based on the collected data, ergonomists will then create a comprehensive ergonomics plan that addresses those high-risk areas reducing the risk of incidence.
LEVEL 3: After completing the ergonomic assessment and crafting the comprehensive ergonomics plan, Briotix Health providers deliver on-site and/or virtual training through our PRO Learn program ensuring employees are up-to-date and knowledgeable on current best practices and injury prevention techniques.
LEVEL 4: Through our Industrial Sports Medicine™ program, Briotix Health experts manage all aspects of your ergonomics program focusing on injury prevention, early discomfort reporting, and ergonomic risk reduction. This comprehensive program management service is designed to deliver ergonomic risk reduction insights, best-practice injury prevention techniques, and on-going program evaluation/enhancement while complying with the new Minnesota standard.
As you develop and finalize workplace safety plans for 2024, you must deeply understand current regulations and how they can affect your workplace. Ergonomic and workplace safety experts are essential to not only avoid current regulatory incidence rates but also improve beyond them and future-proof your business. Creating a workplace that excels in injury prevention saves money, creates better employees, and attracts talent for continued growth.
Interested in learning more about our comprehensive, fully compliant solution to workplace safety? Briotix Health providers identify safety risks in the workplace, reduce employee discomfort, and keep your company compliant with current regulations using onsite and virtual solutions.