From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Citations for Workplace MSDs and the California State Standard

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) also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Such a measure passed and became effective as a regulation on July 3, 1997, “Title 8, General Industry Safety Orders, Section 5110, Ergonomics.”

The California State standard, and proposed penalties may go into effect in a job, process, or operation where a MSD has occurred to more than one employee under several conditions. If the conditions are met, the employer is responsible for initiating a program consisting of worksite evaluation, control of risk factor exposure, and employee training.

The most recent data available shows that from 1998 through 2001 over 100 citations were given for violating the state’s workplace ergonomic rules.* These workplaces incurred proposed penalties totaling more than $180,000.

Over 90 percent of inspections that led to a citation under Section 5110 were initiated by union complaints. Violations were commonly found in hospitals and health care facilities, police departments, and other State or City service departments.

For more information on California’s Workplace MSD standard see: Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, State of California. 1997. “Title 8, General Industry Safety Orders, Section 5110, Ergonomics.”

* Data for 2001 is not yet complete.

The California State Standard can be viewed at

For more information on State ergonomics policies sign up for the June, 2002, edition of the Ergonomics Report (TM) at