Ergonomics Initiative


Per 2023 Senate Bill ESSB 5217, L&I will be pursuing rulemaking to prevent workplace musculoskeletal disorders. The process starts with publication of an annual list of industries and risk classification eligible to be covered by the new rules.  L&I will then select the industry from this list for rulemaking. See the initial report of industries and risk classifications eligible for rulemaking. The lists are available under the "Rule Drafts & Documents" section below.

Learn more about our rulemaking process and terminology.


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are the leading type of occupational injury in Washington state. They account for at least one-third of workers' compensation claims that result in time-loss or wage replacement.

In 2023, the legislature passed RCW 49.17.520, allowing L&I to adopt rules to prevent WMSDs in industries or risk classes that see workers compensation claims for WMSDs at least two times the overall state rate. Only one rule for either an industry or risk classification can be adopted within a 12 month period. The effective date of any WMSD rule must be at least 120 days after adoption of the rule and the first rule cannot take effect until July 1, 2026.


L&I has proposed the following timeline for adopting rules:

Rulemaking Action Items
Action Item Date
Initial Eligible Industry and Risk Class List Report November 30, 2023
Annual Eligible Industry and Risk Class List Report Posted​ By November each year​
Select First Industry or Risk Class for Rulemaking ​ Anticipated Spring 2024​
File CR-101​ Anticipated Spring 2024​
Assemble Industry or Risk Class Advisory Committee as required by RCW 49.17.520(6)​ Anticipated Summer 2024​
Develop Rule Language​ Starting Summer 2024​
Rule Adoption​ To be determined (TBD)​
Effective Date​ TBD, At least 120 days after adoption no earlier than July 1, 2026​

Rule Drafts & Documents

The Legislature directed L&I to publish every year a list of eligible industries and risk classes, along with a high priority list of those most likely to be selected for new rules. L&I will also focus efforts to provide technical assistance to lower the rate of WMSDs to the industries and risk classes on the high priority list. From the November 2023 high priority list, L&I will select a specific industry or risk classification for rulemaking in the spring of 2024.

Compensable WMSD claims from 2017 through 2021 for all industries and risk classifications:

See questions and answers about the list of industries and risk classifications.


Ergonomics rulemaking resources

Staff Contacts

For questions about this rulemaking project or ergonomics in general, contact

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