From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

California to Review Ergonomics Regulations

A public meeting has been scheduled for February 20, 2003 to discuss proposed changes to California’s ergonomics rules.

Starting in 1983 there was 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. Several times since 1997, groups, including the California Labor Federation, have tried to amend the rule.

The February 20 meeting will address a proposal to amend Section 5110, Repetitive Motion Injuries, in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. Specifically, some are proposing a revision to the current requirement
that a workplace have two injuries before an ergonomics program
becomes necessary.

The same issue was at stake in 2001. In July of that year, reported that CLF president Tom Rankin had said, “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.”

A corollary question is whether the Division’s enforcement of section 5110 can be improved without making changes to the existing standard. In 2002, reported that that from 1998 through spring 2001 over 100 citations were given for violating the state’s workplace ergonomic rules. These workplaces incurred proposed penalties totaling more than $180,000.

The State of California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board web page states that the February 20 meeting has been organized to provide interested members of the public, particularly those who may not have received adequate notice of a previous November 15 meeting, with an opportunity to review the proceedings and to present comments on the subject matter of the proceedings.

Comments are limited to three minutes per speaker.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, February 20, 2003, at 10:00 a.m., in the Auditorium of the State Resources Building, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California.

Questions regarding the Standards Board meeting on February 20 should be directed to the office of the Standards Board at (916) 274-5721.

Information can also be found at the State of California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board web page: