Washington Senate Votes to Make Ergonomics Rule Voluntary
Despite last week’s attempt by Washington Governor Gary Locke to ease compliance with the state’s ergonomics rule (see Washington Governor Offers Cash to Stop Ergonomics Repeal), the Washington state Senate voted on February 18 to make participation in the ergonomics rule voluntary.
According to a report in the Seattle Times, the senate vote in favor of changing the mandatory rule to a voluntary one moves the bill to the state House of Representatives. The bill must pass the House before it reaches Locke’s desk for approval or veto.
Locke has publicly supported the state’s current mandatory-compliance ergonomics rule which is set to begin enforcement in July, 2004. State political analysts question whether the new voluntary bill will pass the state’s predominantly Democratic House of Representatives.
Source: Seattle Times
Minnesota Takes Another Look at Ergonomics Regulations
A bill entered into the Minnesota House of Representatives on February 3 is calling for the development of a state-implemented ergonomics standard. Specifically, HF 270 calls for the state’s commissioner of labor and industry to “adopt a final occupational safety and health standard regulating workplace ergonomic hazards,” by January 30, 2004.
Minnesota’s last attempt at an ergonomics standard ultimately spurred the creation of the Minnesota Ergonomics Task Force. As of press time, no action has been reported in relation to the new bill.
OSHA Busy Signing More Alliances and Partnerships
OSHA recently announced an ergonomics-related alliance with the American Apparel and Footwear Association. Since the start of 2003, OSHA has also signed an alliance that includes ergonomics with the Shipbuilders Council, and partnerships with Koch Industries and Dow Chemical that will address ergonomics as well as specific safety issues.