SB 5217, which repeals the voter-approved initiative to prohibit promulgating ergonomics (e.g., musculoskeletal injuries) rules, passed the Senate this week along partisan lines. The bill authorizes Labor and Industries to adopt only one rule per year for an industry with ergonomic claim rates of more than twice the state average for such injuries. Significantly, the Senate adopted several amendments on the floor to (1) delay implementation for three years, (2) clarify that industry sub-classes that do not meet the injury thresholds are not subject to new rules, and (3) increase technical assistance staffing suggested by WR. The bill also encourages Labor and Industries to refrain from rule-making if an industry’s claim rate is declining, even if its ergonomic claim rate is more than twice the state’s average. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
HB 1762 requires warehouse employers to provide written descriptions of quotas and work speed data, allows for sufficient time for breaks and other activities, prohibits retaliation against employees and former employees, authorizes enforcement by L&I, and provides for a private right of action. The bill passed the House on a 53-42 vote this week. WR and a large coalition of business groups will continue working in the Senate toward a bill focused on transparency instead of enforcement and litigation.