LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Farmers may be granted additional time to report workplace deaths on their property under new legislation proposed by State Representative Jerry Neyer (R-Shepherd). 

Why is the legislation needed?

Rep. Neyer is hoping to address some complications under Standard Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), which currently requires an employer to report the death of an employee from a work-related incident within eight hours, and if not completed in the time frame could result in a $5,000 fine. 

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“Families deserve respect and time to heal when a tragedy like this happens,” said Rep. Neyer in a statement. “They shouldn’t have to worry about being fined or not immediately filling out paperwork related to that tragedy.” 

He has previously more than two decades of experience working on the Isabella County Farm Bureau and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan Board before working in the legislature.

“I talk with hardworking farmers across our state who are facing affordability concerns every day,” he said in a statement. “Unnecessary red tape and the possibility of thousands of dollars in fines only further hurts this vital industry and encourages people to get out.” 

What about MIOSHA?

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Similarly, MIOSHA requires that “in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.” 

There are a number of frequently asked questions according to OSHA, including who should report a fatality or in-patient hospitalization of a temporary worker. 

“The employer that provides the day-to-day supervision of the worker must report to OSHA any work-related incident resulting in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye,” according to the group. 

Previous movement on the bill.  

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House Bill 4011, makes some amendments to the current law by adjusting reporting requirements and reducing potential fines on family farms. 

“In the previous legislative term, a bill addressing this issue gained support in both the House and Senate and made it to the governor’s desk,” Rep. Neyer said. “This particular bill solves discrepancies the governor originally had with the bill when she vetoed it.”

Ahead of the new year, HB 4011 passed from the House Committee on Agriculture to the House Floor, but never received a vote.