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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most prevalent and costly safety and health issues in workplaces today. Beyond the financial ramifications of failing to address MSD risk in the workplace, the toll it takes on productivity, employee injury recovery time and employee well-being cannot be understated.  

To address this concern in their state, the Minnesota (MN) Legislature took a large step in 2023 by passing Statutes 182.677, focusing on the integration of ergonomics to prevent and mitigate MSDs in specific workplace settings. Though there are many provisions within this statute, here is a general overview.  

To whom does the Minnesota Ergonomics Statutes apply? 

This statute applies to:  

  • All warehouse distribution center employers with 100 or more employees 
  • Meatpacking and poultry processing sites with 100 or more employees 
  • Health care facilities 

What does the ergonomics-focused legislation mean?  

This statute calls for a mandatory ergonomics program for licensed health care facilities, warehouse distribution centers, and meatpacking sites in MN to minimize the risk of employees developing or worsening musculoskeletal disorders.  

Key elements of an organization’s required ergonomics program include:  

  • Musculoskeletal disorder risk assessments 
  • Employee ergonomics training 
  • Early MSD reporting 
  • Employee involvement through safety committees 
  • Annual evaluation of the organization’s ergonomics program 

Employers must also maintain records, encourage reporting, and reference the ergonomics program in a Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) program.  

Grant Funding 

Another key feature of this legislation is the allocation of one-time funding of $2 million from the state of Minnesota’s general fund. This funding is dedicated to ergonomics safety grants, designed to support employers in implementing projects aimed at reducing the risk of soft tissue injuries among their employees. These grants are anticipated to have a substantial impact, with an estimated $12.6 million in workers’ compensation cost savings to employers, resulting from reductions in workplace MSDs.  

The program provides matching funding for eligible employers (those listed above) with current workers’ compensation insurance to implement ergonomic improvements recommended by an on-site safety survey. The survey must be completed by a specified professional, a Minnesota occupational safety and health compliance investigator or workplace safety consultant, an in-house safety and health committee, a workers’ compensation insurance underwriter, a private consultant, or a person under contract with the assigned risk plan. 

Grant funds can be used for: 

  • Purchasing equipment 
  • Operating or maintaining recommended equipment 
  • Property related to safety survey recommendations 
  • Training and tuition reimbursement for educational costs related to ergonomic issues 

By offering financial support through grants to integrate ergonomics principles, MN aims to create workplaces that prioritize the well-being of employees, reduce MSD and injury risk levels, and ultimately lead to significant cost savings for employers. Minnesota’s Ergonomics legislation stands as a commendable effort to address and prevent musculoskeletal disorders and should serve as a model for other regions to create healthier and safer work environments.  

How can VelocityEHS help you? 

VelocityEHS Industrial Ergonomics software has key features that meet important aspects of these statutes and helps organizations easily develop and sustain an ergonomics program, such as: 

  • MSD risk assessments that suggest specific, impactful improvements 
  • Manual material handling and occupational risk factor assessment tools 
  • Reporting and record keeping of occupational risk factors and identified countermeasures 
  • Ergonomics training available on demand for employees.