Washington Repeal of Ergonomic Regulations, Initiative 841 (2003)

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Washington Initiative 841, or I-841, was on the November 4, 2003 ballot in the State of Washington as an initiated state statute, where it was approved.

I-841 repealed existing state ergonomics regulations and directed the department of labor and industries not to adopt new ergonomics regulations unless a uniform federal standard is required.

Election results

Initiative 841
Approveda Yes 656,737 53.49%

What Initiative 841 did

The text of Initiative 841 contained four sections.

  • Section 1 provided that it is state policy to aid businesses in creating new jobs. It noted that members of both parties in the legislature have introduced bills for repealing the ergonomics rule, and predicted that Initiative 841 will "aid in creating jobs and employing the people of Washington."
  • Section 2 said that state ergonomics regulations, identified as Washington Administrative Code 296-62-05101 through 296-62-05176, are to be repealed. It further provided that the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries shall not issue new ergonomic rules except to comply with federal law
  • Sections 3 and 4 directed the courts on how I-841 should be interpreted.[1]

Fiscal impact statement

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Political topics on the ballot

The State of Washington Office of Financial Management prepares a fiscal estimate for every ballot measure that goes on the statewide ballot in Washington. Their fiscal estimate for I-841 said:

If I-841, which repeals certain worker-safety rules, is enacted, the state insurance fund for injured workers could lose an expected savings of $686 million over the next six years, and $159 million annually thereafter. During the same period, state and local governments, as employers, could lose expected insurance and other savings of $220 million, and $51 million annually thereafter. Repeal of the rules also means governments could avoid paying $119 million in compliance costs over six years, and $21 million annually thereafter. Net loss to governments, as employers, could be $101 million over six years, and $30 million annually thereafter.


I-841 supporters argued the rule is unnecessary, that its complexity and cost would contribute to job losses and would damage Washington's business climate.[2]


Opponents of I-841 said the ergonomics rule, if retained, would reduce workplace injuries and save money through lower workers' compensation claims.

See also

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