Ergonomics Standard to be Reviewed

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Feb. 21, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board) met in Sacramento on February 20 and voted on a proposal (option three) that could significantly change California's current ergonomic standard (Title 8 California Code of Regulations Section 5110). After more than five hours of public testimony and discussion among board members, the Board voted 3-2 to send an amended option three to an advisory committee.

No vote was taken on the first option, proposed by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division), to expand the existing standard by including other ergonomics hazards. Nor did the Board elect to vote on the second option that would require the Board to accept or reject Petition 448 outright. Both options were strongly opposed by CMTA and other employer representatives.

The Board decided to go with option three to send the issue to an employer-employee advisory committee, amended it to narrow the issues to be discussed by the advisory committee, and set a controversial three month time limit for the committee to report back to the Board. Under option three, the committee should gather and review any statistical, scientific, and medical information to support the necessity for any proposed changes to Section 5110, assess any costs and/or benefits associated with any such changes, and determine whether there is a sound basis for changing the regulation. The committee should also consider administrative alternatives to improve enforcement of Section 5110 and explore the employer's obligation to address RMIs under Section 3203.

Two board members, Jere Ingram, Chair, and Victoria Bradshaw, both with past experience in developing rules to regulate the prevention of repetitive motion injuries, disagreed with the three month time period and voted against the option. In addition to other concerns, they believe that three months is not nearly enough time to reach consensus on such a contentious and controversial issue.

Due to the extremely short time period in which the advisory committee has to come up with a report to the Board, invitations to participate in the proceedings should be in the mail very soon. CMTA expects to be invited to represent manufacturers. Board and Division staff will co-chair the committee.

Read more Workers' compensation articles

Capitol updates archive 989898989