A scheduled February 14 vote by the Washington state senate that could have repealed the state’s current ergonomics rule was delayed after Washington Governor Gary Locke offered a directive that includes grants of up to $5,000 to help ease compliance for the state’s small businesses.
In addition to the small business grants, Locke’s directive also includes the creation of a small business ergonomics task force and an ergonomics enforcement review board. The task force and the review board will act to assist small businesses with compliance and also help determine whether a small business can afford to comply with the state’s ergonomics regulations.
Washington’s ergonomics rule, with a July 2004 enforcement date, has come under fire from state business groups, particularly in regard to the potential cost of compliance. According to a Seattle Times article, Locke stated in a letter to Paul Trause, Director of Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries, that “It is clear that there is still considerable concern within the business community about the possible impact of the rule. In response to this concern, I believe that even more is required to ensure that the rule is easily understood and will be enforced fairly and consistently.”
Currently only Washington and California have state ergonomics rules; however, both Minnesota and Connecticut are entertaining the idea of ergonomics rules or standards during their current legislative sessions.
Source: Seattle Times