HB-1837, known as the “Ergonomics bill”, if passed and signed into law would be horrific to Washington state’s consumers of goods and services. If this bill became law, it would most definitely further drive up inflationary costs of goods and services and drive down availability of Washington state’s availability of goods and services. This bill is currently in House Rules Committee and must NOT come out of the Rules Committee. We need EVERYONE to call or email Washington state’s Speaker of the House, Laurie Jinkins and every WA State House Rules Committee member and tell them: “DO NOT allow HB-1837 to come out of the House Rules Committee.“
The 18-page ergonomics rule previously adopted by the Department of Labor and Industries required all employers — public and private — to identify jobs that pose ergonomic hazards and then do whatever is “technologically and economically feasible” to eliminate those hazards. The “concise explanatory statement” for the rule was 126 pages long. The WE CARE Coalition sued to overturn the rule and was in the process of appeal to the state Supreme Court when Governor Locke delayed the rule by two years after his Competitiveness Council recommended its repeal. An initiative was ultimately filed and led by the Building Industry Association and supported by the Association of Washington Business, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Washington Food Industry, and many others. I-841 repealed the ergonomics rule and prevented new rulemaking unless a federal standard is adopted. The federal government has not adopted any ergonomics rules and instead provides training and assistance.
Voters stopped the ergonomics rule for good reasons. Voters approved this measure by 54%. Newspapers around the state editorialized against the ergonomics rule and in favor of I-841 http://www.thesunlink.com/redesign/2003-10-12/opinion/281826.shtml
A few key points about this bill:
- Ergonomics injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Ergonomics injuries are already covered by workers’ compensation insurance when evidence shows the injury was more likely than not work related. There is sufficient incentive for employers to put in place ergonomics safety programs to reduce the scope of those injuries and keep workers’ compensation costs down.
- Washingtonians can’t afford an untested, unscientific ergonomics rule. Compliance of the 2003 rule was estimated at $725 million that with inflation would now be over $1 billion. With an ergonomics rule, automation will advance even faster that will cause job losses around the state.
- If the department of Labor and Industries is given the authority, they WILL adopt an ergonomics rule. This bill gives unfettered ergonomic rulemaking authority to a state agency to decide virtually every aspect of the workplace, from the work schedule to the angle of your chair.
- Washington ranks as one of the most regulated states in the U.S. New regulatory programs mean less money for jobs! This ranking is without taking into consideration an ergonomics rule going into effect. Source, Washington Research Council
- Read the bill: 1837.pdf (wa.gov)
TAKE ACTION NOW
Please email each of the committee members at the email addresses below. Your message could say something like:
” HB-1837 would further drive up inflationary costs of goods and services and drive down availability of Washington state’s availability of goods and services. This bill is not in the best interests of Washington state citizens. I am asking you today, please DO NOT allow this bill to pass the Rules Committee. Say NO and stop this bill now.”
firstname.lastname@example.org – Speaker of the House