A bill that would allow state regulators in Washington to better address musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace is one step away from becoming law.
Washington lawmakers on Friday sent Senate Bill 5217 to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk, although it was not immediately clear whether the governor would sign or veto the measure.
The bill would repeal a current law that prevents the Department of Labor and Industries from adopting rules intended to better protect workers from musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses.
The measure, introduced in January, passed the Senate and the House, but by narrow margins.
Lawmakers supporting the measure say the Department of Labor and Industries̵7; lack of ability to regulate workplace practices designed to prevent musculoskeletal injuries on the job has contributed to “excessive and avoidable” workers’ compensation claims and costs for all employers across the state.
The bill states that musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses account for at least one-third of all injury claims in Washington and remain the leading cause of long-term disability in the state.
Many of the state’s critical industries suffer from musculoskeletal injuries and ailments, including industries that continue to experience significant labor shortages.
The bill states that lifting the current Department of Labor and Industries ban would allow regulators to work on targeted safety efforts designed to better prevent these types of workplace injuries.