California Ergonomics laws & safety compliance analysis

California Ergonomics : What you need to know

COMPARISON: STATE VS. FEDERAL

California has adopted three ergonomic-related rules aimed at minimizing repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) in the workplace. One covers employers at all workplaces where employees suffer from RMIs, another covers acute care hospitals where employees lift patients, and a third covers hotels and other lodging establishments that hire housekeepers.

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The California Department of Industrial Relations/Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) administers and enforces workplace safety and health rules in California, including the ergonomic-related regulations.

STATE REQUIREMENTS
RMI PROGRAM
8 CCR 5110

The regulation requires all employers to comply if all of the following circumstances are present:

  • At least two employees performing the same task report that they suffer from an RMI.
  • The injuries are caused predominantly (50 percent or more) by repetitive job or processes.
  • A licensed physician objectively identifies and diagnoses the RMI as musculoskeletal injuries.

If the preceding conditions are present, the employer must implement a program designed to minimize RMIs in the workplace. The program must involve:

Worksite evaluations. The employer must evaluate for exposures suspected of causing the reported RMI, including evaluation of each job, process, or operation of identical work activity.

Controlling exposures. Once the employer decides which exposures caused the RMIs, the employer must promptly correct them, or if that is not possible, minimize them. The employer may consider:

  • Engineering controls such as workstation redesign, adjustable fixtures, or tool redesign and employee training; or
  • Administrative controls, such as job rotation, work pacing, or work breaks.

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