Renewed efforts would amend MIOSHA farm fatality fines

A second attempt is being made to pass legislation in Michigan that would significantly reduce fines for misreporting farm fatalities.

Representative Jerry Neyer testified Wednesday on HB 4011 which he says is a substitute bill to one that passed the legislature last year inspired by a 2019 farm fatality.

“The owner of a family farm fell through a roof while making repairs in an unrelated building on the farm operation,” he shares.  “Because the family did not report the incident within 8 hours’ time frame required by MIOSHA, they were fined over $12,000.”

He says while legislation passed in 2022 with nearly a super-majority vote in both chambers, the substitute includes language changes as requested in the governor’s veto.

Ben Terrell with Michigan Farm Bureau says their organization opposes enforcement action against owner/operators resulting from a self-imposed accidental injury.

“The bill does not even remove the reporting violation penalty,” he says.  “It simply creates an automatic reduction only when the injury or fatality affects the farmer or a member of their family.”

Neyer says the substitute measure better defines a family farm, family member, and reduces fines for late reporting.

The committee also passed a bill that would prohibit milkweed as a noxious or exotic weed by local governments.

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