Montana has long had a work injury rate 40% higher than the national average, resulting in high levels of injuries and expensive Worker’s Compensation rates. The federal OSHA program is geared toward national issues, which don’t always address Montana’s safety problems. In an effort to improve Montana’s safety rates, the Legislature is looking at two pieces of legislation developed by the Labor Management Advisory Council (LMAC) on Workers’ Compensation, a group made up of representatives from business and labor who have spent the last two years looking for consensus solutions to state Workers’ Compensation and workplace injury challenges.
One of the two proposals is for a Montana OSHA Plan that would allow Montana to focus on the safety issues that cause the biggest problems in the state. As proposed, the biggest changes appear to be using state (instead of national) data to develop emphasis programs and focusing more on education and compliance assistance. A Montana OSHA program would replace the federal program, not duplicate it.
For more information on the legislation, visit the Montana Department of Labor and Industry site.