FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR # 97-12
Tuesday, February 25, 1997

CONTACT:
Chris Demes (OSHSB)
(916) 322-3640
Rick Rice
(415) 972-8835


Standards Board Releases New Draft Ergonomics Regulation

SACRAMENTO - The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board today released a revised draft "ergonomics standard" which is now available for public comment. The Standards Board revised the proposal to satisfy the requirements of the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL). OAL felt the previous proposal required clarification before it could be formally approved as a final standard.

The revisions are intended to make the standard easier to read and understand. To that end, the proposed standard has been modified to:

The Standards Board will accept public comments on the changes until March 17, 1997 and expects to have a final version of the standard ready to resubmit to OAL by the end of April. Pending administrative action by OAL and filing with the Secretary of State, the new regulation may become effective by late June.

The revised draft standard will affect all California businesses with 10 or more employees. At a previous meeting, the Standards Board, which is composed of representatives of management, labor, the public and the occupational safety and health fields, voted to exempt businesses with nine or fewer employees, citing the risk that the regulation could be overly burdensome.

For those businesses with 10 or more employees, the regulation will be triggered when at least two employees performing identical work activity have been diagnosed with RMI within 12 consecutive months. Should that occur, the employer must establish and implement a program designed to minimize the condition. The regulation calls for the employer to evaluate the affected worksite, control the exposures that cause RMI and provide training to affected employees.

Anyone who would like to review a copy of the new draft standard may call the Standards Board at (916) 322-3640 or access the Department of Industrial Relations' home page at www.dir.ca.gov and look under the "What's New" section.
###