Regulatory Issues in the United States

In 1997 California became the first, and remains the only, state in the United States with a regulation that targets ergonomic risk factors and repetitive motion injuries [Cal/OSHA GISO 5110, Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs)]. The regulation specifies that if two or more workers performing the same tasks had diagnosed RMIs in the same workplace within the last 12 months, a three-step ergonomics program must be implemented. A United States OSHA Ergonomics Standard was proposed and accepted but was rescinded by the United States Senate in 2001 and cannot be considered again as an OSHA standard. Washington State had passed a similar ergonomics standard, but that was repealed by voter initiative in 2003. As of early 2005, the U.S. approach to decreasing MSDs, outside of California, is now through an industry-specific ergonomics guideline consultative voluntary program and the workers' compensation system rather than mandated regulatory programs (50-53).

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