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Two of OSHA's 27 state occupational safety and health programs - California and Washington - have adopted state ergonomics standards. The Washington ergonomics standard was subsequently repealed in 2003. Employers in California are required to comply with the specific provisions of California ergonomics standard. Other states with approved occupational safety and health programs may choose to follow OSHA's four-pronged approach to ergonomics, adopt ergonomic standards, specifically include ergonomics in standards establishing safety and health program requirements, and utilize their general duty authority in appropriate enforcement situations. Below are some examples of state plan ergonomics efforts.
California adopted an ergonomics standard on November 14, 1996. The standard provides that when at least two employees performing identical tasks have been diagnosed by a physician with repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) within 12 consecutive months, the employer must establish a program which shall:
- Evaluate each job, process, or operation of identical activity for exposures which have caused RMIs at the affected worksite;
- Control or minimize to the extent feasible the exposures that have caused repetitive motion injuries, considering engineering controls and administrative controls; and
- Provide training to affected employees.
- Cal/OSHA is conducting inspections as well as outreach activities and has developed publications and training materials concerning ergonomics, which are available through the Cal/OSHA website at Publications.
- The California ergonomics standard can be found at Article 106: Ergonomics.
Washington adopted an ergonomics standard on May 26, 2000, with a phased-in enforcement that was scheduled to begin on July 1, 2004. On July 12, 2002, the Thurston County Superior Court rejected a business coalition's contention that the state exceeded its authority under state law, acted arbitrarily, and did not follow its rule-making requirements. The case was appealed directly to the State Supreme Court, but not acted on before voters passed an initiative on November 4, 2003 to repeal the state's ergonomics standard. The vote was certified (and therefore effective) December 4, 2003. The standard had required employers with "caution zone jobs" to find and fix ergonomic hazards instead of waiting for an injury to occur before taking action. Initially, the rule had focused on large employers in 12 high-risk industries
- In response to the repeal, Washington is concentrating on educating workers and employers on the importance of preventing these types of injuries and proper techniques they can use. Enforcement issues are currently being addressed on a case-by-case basis.
- Ergonomics information and outreach materials are available at About Ergonomics.
Alaska held public meetings statewide in January 2002 on a draft standard for general safety and health programs, which included ergonomics, indoor air quality, and workplace violence.
- However, due to the number of comments received from stakeholders concerning ergonomics, the Commissioner of Labor decided to drop the ergonomics provisions, and later discontinued efforts to develop a safety and health programs rule.
Minnesota established an Ergonomics Task Force that issued its final report to the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry in October 2002. No further action was taken.
Oregon OSHA's (OR-OSHA) strategic plan includes activities designed to reduce musculoskeletal injuries through outreach and the use of voluntary services.
- Oregon has created an Ergonomics Stakeholder Group to identify strategies to promote reduction of ergonomic injuries in targeted industries with high rates of musculoskeletal injuries.
- OR-OSHA offers a variety of ergonomics related services including conferences, on-site training, educational resources, and consultation services to help Oregon employers. Oregon has also created an ergonomics web page at