Since 1983 there has been an organized effort to pass a standard in the State of California to protect workers from Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs). Such a measure passed and became effective as a regulation on July 3, 1997.
Following the lead of the Federal Ergonomics Program Standard promulgated by OSHA, but rescinded by the Bush Administration earlier this year, the California Labor Federation (CLF) had hoped to amend the state regulation to more closely mirror what was proposed on a federal level. A July 19th meeting by the CalOSHA Standards Board rejected such measures.
According to CLF president Tom Rankin, “California’s rule was an important groundbreaker at the time, but it requires two identical injuries before an employer has to correct the hazard. That’s like requiring two car crashes before CHP writes a ticket.”
The matter may be up for review again as the Standards Board has been criticized for possibly making the decision with members whose term was expired. Two members are still serving terms which expired in 1999, and have not been replaced; two other positions are vacant. The Board meets again August 16.