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BIAW files initiative to block ergonomics rule

The Building Industry Association of Washington has filed an initiative with the Secretary of State to repeal the job-killing ergonomics rule adopted by the state Department of Labor and Industries .

Initiative 841 scraps the onerous and costly rule and prevents the state from taking any action until the federal government adopts national ergonomics standards. Washington is the only state with an ergonomics rule, and experts estimate complying with the rule will cost businesses $725 million for the first year alone.

The rule targets work activities the state deems to be hazardous, such as those requiring repetitive motion, lifting, gripping, working with the arms above the head, squatting or kneeling. It limits the amount of time workers can spend in these jobs to no more than 4 hours per day.

Despite overwhelming opposition from the business community, Governor Locke supports the rule and has promised to veto any legislation repealing it. Meanwhile, L&I has granted exemptions to such out-of-state companies as Wal-Mart and Safeway while insisting in-state companies comply.

That is why BIAW says it filed I-841 — to send a message to legislators and Governor Locke that if they don’t toss out the job-killing rules, the voters will.

I-841 needs the signatures of 225,000 registered voters in order to appear on the ballot for voter approval in November. For more information on how you can join the battle against the job-killing ergonomics rule, call BIAW Legislative Liaison Tonia Neal at 228-4229.

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