Magazine article Occupational Hazards

OSHA Considers Guidelines for Ergonomics

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

OSHA Considers Guidelines for Ergonomics

Article excerpt

OSHA may abandon the idea of proposing a far-reaching general industry ergonomics standard, several sources told Occupational Hazards.

An agency source said OSHA is re-evaluating its approach in light of concerns from the new Congress and business community. According to sources, the agency may try to make the proposal less burdensome by limiting the scope to high-risk industries or including flexibility in the standard so employers can decide what they need to do to address cumulative trauma disorders.

Several sources said OSHA may try to address the issue through voluntary general industry guidelines, which would not be subject to the formal rulemaking process. Sources said guidelines would likely resemble 1990 meatpacking guidelines, which identify four key program elements: worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, medical management, and training and education.

In 1990, OSHA drafted guidelines for general industry, but they were never released because the agency announced plans to develop a standard. Those guidelines have a chance of being resurrected as an alternative to a standard, sources said. …

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