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Washington state finalizes ergo rule

June 1, 2000
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Washington State has adopted its own ergonomics rule that requires employers to:
  • evaluate jobs to identify potential ergonomics risks such as awkward heavy lifting or highly repetitive motion;
  • reduce employee exposure when these jobs are hazardous;
  • provide basic ergonomics education for employees who work in or supervise risky jobs.

The rule does not cover medical management or wage protection for injured workers — two provisions of federal OSHA’s ergo proposal.

Washington’s rule will be phased in during a two- to five-year period. Initially, it will focus on employers with more than 50 employees, and the state’s 12 industries with the highest risk of ergonomic injuries.

State inspectors will not enforce the rule until a panel of experts determines that the requirements are understandable, proposed enforcement policies are fair and consistent, education materials are widely available, and demonstration projects are successful.

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