Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: MI

Bill would ease fines for not reporting farm accidents

NiseriN/Getty Images Themis statue, judge hammer and books
HOUSE APPROVAL: The Michigan House approved House Bill 4031, which aims to amend the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act to decrease penalties for failing to report injuries or fatalities to owners or family members at family farms.
The legislation is headed to the Michigan Senate for consideration.

Barb Eisenmann wasn’t thinking about calling the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration after her husband, Keith, fell to his death while trying to repair a roof on their Blissfield Township family farm in 2019. Under the law, she had eight hours to report a fatality. The law allows 24 hours for injury.

Her failure to do so meant she and brother Zell would have to pay the $12,000 MIOSHA fine, which they did in 2020.

Unlike some businesses, farming is often a family-run operation, without a human resources department to take care of business. New Michigan legislation is gaining traction to allow some leeway for family farms.

On May 6, the Michigan House approved House Bill 4031, which aims to amend the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act to decrease penalties for failing to report injuries or fatalities to owners or family members at family farms.

Introducted by state Rep. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, the bill was co-sponsored by Joe Bellino, R-Monroe; Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette; Gary Eisen, R-St. Clair Township; Graham Filler, R-DeWitt; Alex Garza, D-Taylor; Daire Rendon, R-Lake City; Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township; and Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond.

MFBBarb Eisenmann

NEW LEGISLATION: After the death of Blissfield Township farmer Keith Eisenmann in 2019, his widow, Barb (above), was required to pay $12,000 in fines for not reporting it in the time required by law. A bill has now passed the Michigan House to amend that law to allow for more time and reduced fines.

It seeks to protect a family farm when most of the business is owned by the operator or family members, and a farm is organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership or family corporation. It amends the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act and protects farmers by increasing the reporting time from eight hours to seven days and reducing the civil penalty from $5,000 to $500. Under Kahle’s legislation, fines similar to the Eisenmanns’ would be reduced by 95%.

“It is a cruel and insensitive expectation that a family should think of calling a bureaucratic agency to report the death of a loved one within hours of such a heartbreaking and life-altering event,” Kahle said in a statement.

The bill now heads to the Michigan Senate for consideration.

Source: Michigan Farm Bureau, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
TAGS: Safety
Hide comments
account-default-image

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish