WSR 98-24-093




[Filed December 1, 1998, 3:15 p.m.]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: A rule to prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 49.17.040.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) are among the most common and costly occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States and Washington state. They result in substantial pain, suffering, cost and lost productivity. Much of this is preventable through the application of the tools and principles of ergonomics. The Department of Labor and Industries has encouraged the voluntary, nonregulatory application of ergonomic methods for reducing WRMSDs for a number of years. The department has concluded that these nonregulatory methods have been necessary but not sufficient to prevent WRMSDs. The department believes that rules which are fair, flexible and feasible will provide substantial benefit to employers and employees which will not be accomplished in any other way.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: No other state or federal agencies (other than OSHA) are known that regulate this subject.

Process for Developing New Rule: The department plans a rule development process that stresses participation from the business, labor and safety and health professional communities. This process will include informal rule development conferences throughout the state to identify issues, concerns and options. It will include working with one or more advisory committees to explore options and develop proposed rules. It will include public hearings to ensure full opportunity for public review and comment. Pilot rule projects which measure the feasibility of complying with or administering the rules and for identifying options for achieving the goal of the rules will be considered.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting John Peard, Department of Labor and Industries, WISHA Services Division, P.O. Box 44610, Olympia, WA 98504-4610, phone (360) 902-5425, fax (360) 902-5438.

November 30, 1998

Gary Moore