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Employee Safety and Health


Local governments, like all employers, would be nothing without their employees. Employees provide services today and, through education, training and experience, can help meet the challenges of tomorrow. Employees represent a huge investment that needs to be protected from harm and peril, both because it is the right thing to do and it is required by federal and state law. Regulations have been developed by the federal government and the state to help protect the workforce from accidents and other dangers. This page references and links to those regulations.

Legal References

Safety and Health Programs, Guides, and Manuals

The following are examples of safety manuals and programs. The first two manuals, prepared by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, have been developed to reflect Washington laws and regulations. Those from other states, not surprisingly, relate to the laws and regulations from the other states. (Many of the regulations upon which the manuals are based reflect the same concerns reflected by Washington provisions and regulations and those adopted by OSHA.) Nevertheless, each of the documents provides useful information, procedures and forms that could be used in developing a local safety program. For the most part the manuals do not reference date of preparation; however, as they come from current, on-going websites, they likely reflect current requirements.

State and Federal Ergonomics Rules

The state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) issued final specific rules on ergonomics on May 26, 2000. The rules were repealed by Initiative 841, passed by the state's voters in November 2003, and, also by that initiative, the Department of Labor and Industries was directed not to adopt new regulations unless required to do so by uniform federal standards. However, by a supreme court decision, Supervalu Holdings v. Department of Labor and Industries, 158 Wn.2d 422 (2006), the Department of Labor and Industries is still able to address serious or deadly ergonomics-related workplace hazards under the general authority given the Department by RCW 49.17.060(1).

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) ergonomic rules have been repealed by act of Congress (Public Law No. 107-5), signed by President George W. Bush in March 2001.

Last Modified: May 13, 2016