Agency Proposes Standards for Injury Prevention at the Job Site

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Employers should take steps to prevent certain on-the-job stress injuries, such as carpal-tunnel syndrome and back strains, a federal agency said in proposed industry standards.

If approved, the standards could force certain employers -- mainly in the industrial sector -- to alter workstations, redesign facilities or change tools and equipment.

Setting a national standard would alleviate the burden on multistate businesses from complying with "a patchwork quilt of different ergonomics rules in different states," Occupational Safety and Health Administration Administrator Charles N. Jeffress told reporters Friday. But business groups, which have long fought such standards, objected. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged OSHA to wait for the National Academy of Sciences to finish its study on whether there is a scientific basis for national ergonomics standards. "This hopelessly vague draft is a blank check for OSHA inspectors," said Peter Eide, the chamber's manager for labor law. "It would require all American businesses to become full-time experts in ergonomics, a field for which there is little if any credible evidence. …