Execs Give OSHA Standards Mixed Reviews

By Villano, Matt | Editor & Publisher, November 6, 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Execs Give OSHA Standards Mixed Reviews


Villano, Matt, Editor & Publisher


After years of planning, the U.S. Senate approved a bill last month that gives the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the right to establish ergonomic standards for general industry and make these guidelines into law. While some newspaper executives applaud the move, others denounce it, saying the standards could force them to spend millions of dollars a year on compliance.

"It's an issue on which many papers are naturally split," says Donald Hensel, manager of environmental and safety services for the Newspaper Association of America. "I don't think there's a paper in the country that doesn't want its employees to be safe, but, at the same time, some of these smaller papers might have to invest a lot of money in making sure their operations are up to snuff. Budgeting for something like that, when you never thought you'd have to, can be a real challenge."

A number of ergonomics experts say newspapers should have expected these standards. The National Safety Council and OSHA have been working toward establishing these standards in all industries for most of the decade. Their reasoning? Officials from both organizations claim the standards are necessary to reduce the number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, a leading cause of workers' compensation costs and injuries that result in days away from work.

The National Safety Council released the first draft of these standards in 1993, and the proposed guidelines have gone relatively unchanged since then.

A draft of the guidelines found on the OSHA Web site (http://www.osha.gov) proposes that organizations in every industry adopt or establish a basic ergonomics program to make the workplace safer for everyone. Components of this basic program include:

Health and risk-factor surveillance

Job analysis

Medical management

Training and education

Program evaluation

In theory, most newspaper experts agree with such a program but, in practice, many say OSHA's proposed ergonomics guidelines will force them to hire physical or occupational therapists to oversee parts of these programs.

For most of the larger papers, this is not a problem. Papers such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have had ergonomic coordinators for years. For smaller papers, however, the guidelines present more of a challenge. How will these papers afford paying for the new programs? How will they know how to set them up? According to Cliff Ward, managing editor at The Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill., none of the answers is very clear. Ward says his paper spends about 800 dollars on ergonomic equipment for each employee, and, already that figure is too high.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Execs Give OSHA Standards Mixed Reviews
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?