As if writing up ergonomic regulatory requirements and fending off political attacks lawsuits isn't enough, try drafting enforcement policies and procedures that are clear, reasonable, fair and consistent. That's the challenge now facing the state of Washington's Department of Labor and Industries.

Draft enforcement materials have been circulated for review and comment, and meetings have been held with a number of business and labor stakeholders, including a small business task force. Revisions will be made based on these discussions. During the fall, the policies and procedures were to be field tested in a number of workplaces of varying size and industry.

After the field testing, more discussions will be held with business and labor representatives, with more revisions to follow.

A final version of enforcement guidelines for use by both employers and inspectors is expected to be presented to a state safety and health advisory committee and a "Blue Ribbon Panel" set up to monitor the standard's implementation by January 2002. The standard, which is being challenged in court by business groups, is to be phased in over a six-year period beginning in July 2002.