Wash. Forms Blue Ribbon Panel To Assess Ergonomics Rule

The State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries has appointed 11 members to serve on the state's new blue\r\nribbon panel on ergonomics.

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The State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has appointed 11 members to serve on the state''s new blue ribbon panel on Ergonomics.

The panelists include representatives from business, labor, medicine, education and law.

"We''re asking the panel members to review L&I''s actions and assess whether the ergonomics rule requirements are understandable and the proposed enforcement policies are fair and consistent," said L&I Director Gary Moore. "We will not enforce the rule until determining that effective educational materials are widely available and demonstration projects are successful."

The department adopted its ergonomics rule May 26, 2000.

The rule requires employers to protect their employees from work-related injuries such as back strain, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. The requirements will be phased in over six years, beginning July 1, 2002.

State plan states like Washington are required to adopt ergonomics rules that are at least as effective as the federal standard that was recently released by Federal OSHA.

Co-chairs of the ergonomics blue ribbon panel are Claude Golden, attorney and regulatory/legislative analyst, Environmental Affairs Office, The Boeing Co. and Larry Bindner, assistant business manager, Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers.

The panel will report its recommendations to L&I on an ongoing basis over the next year, according to the department.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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