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Minnesota Law Will Require Certain Employers to Create an Ergonomics Program 

06 Jul

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Update applicable to:

The new provisions of the law will apply to licensed health care facilities, warehouse distribution centers, and meatpacking sites in the state of Minnesota.

What happened?

As part of the omnibus bill (SF3035) that Governor Tim Walz signed last month, the state introduced a requirement for certain employers to create and implement​ an effective written ergonomics program establishing the employer’s plan to minimize the​ risk of its employees developing or aggravating musculoskeletal disorders.

What are the details?

Applicable employers are as follows:

  • Health care facilities with the following NAICS codes: 622110; 622210; 622310; 621493; and 623110
  • Warehouse distribution centers with 100 or more employees in Minnesota with the following NAICS codes: 493110; 423110; 423990; 424110; 424990; 454110; and 492110
  • Meatpacking sites with 100 or more employees in Minnesota with the following NAICS codes: 311611 to 311615; except 311613

The law states that the ergonomics​ program should focus on eliminating the risk. To the extent risk exists, the ergonomics program​ must include feasible administrative or engineering controls to reduce the risk.

The program shall include:​

  • An assessment to identify and reduce musculoskeletal disorder risk factors in the​ facility
  • An initial and ongoing training of employees on ergonomics and its benefits, including​ the importance of reporting early symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders
  • A procedure to ensure early reporting of musculoskeletal disorders to prevent or​ reduce the progression of symptoms, the development of serious injuries, and lost-time​ claims
  • A process for employees to provide possible solutions that may be implemented to​ reduce, control, or eliminate workplace musculoskeletal disorders;
  • Procedures to ensure that physical plant modifications and major construction projects​ are consistent with program goals
  • Annual evaluations of the ergonomics program and whenever a change to the work​ process occurs

Employers will also have requirements of an annual evaluation of program to annually assess the effectiveness of the ergonomics program. Additionally, employers will need to train new employees prior to starting work and current employees must receive initial training and ongoing annual training in accordance​ with the employer’s ergonomics program. Employers must also maintain records of the training. The commissioner is expected to make training materials available to all employers, upon request, at no cost, and certain employers may qualify for a grant program.

The above provisions of the law are effective January 1, 2024. However, there are two areas that are effective on July 1, 2023. Firstly, employers are not allowed to maintain any program, policy, or practice that discourages employees from reporting​ injuries, hazards, or safety and health standard violations, including ergonomic-related​ hazards and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders. And the other section of the law that takes effect on July 1 is the availability of the grant program, Subdivision 12 on page 13 of the bill (link below).

For more information, please see the links below:

Omnibus Bill: SF3035 (Article 1. Section 21.182.677; pages 10-15)

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the above section of the bill to review all the details of the specific provisions of this law and consult legal counsel for assistance with compliance.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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