Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Proposal Designed to Reduce Ergonomic Injuries

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Proposal Designed to Reduce Ergonomic Injuries

Article excerpt

Although the American workplace is probably as safe today as it has ever been, thanks to tightening regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other work advocate groups, one serious problem continues to grow.

Each year, 1.8 million workers experience musculoskeletal injuries related to ergonomic factors and 600,000 people miss work because of them, according to OSHA. The injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons include back pain and many repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and tendinitis. The problem has become so widespread that the Labor Department recently unveiled proposed regulations that would require businesses to correct any workstation that causes an ergonomic injury, as diagnosed by a physician. If the regulations become law, they would affect about 1.9 million work sites -- one of every three -- and more than 27 million workers. The department estimated the cost to employers at $4.2 billion a year. It also estimated, however, that the new rules could prevent injury to about 300,000 workers annually and save employers $9 billion. Ergonomic injuries currently cost $15 billion to $20 billion annually for workers compensation and $30 billion to $40 billion in other expenses, such as medical care. While both proponents and opposing forces wait to see if the rules pass next year, there are certain simple things employers and employees may do right now to reduce the number of ergonomic-related injuries.

Such injuries are among the most preventable in the workplace. RSIs have risen drastically in the past decade and are one of the fastest-growing sources of workers compensation claims today. One segment of the American work force that has been especially plagued with the problem in recent years is the office worker -- specifically the individual who sits at a keyboard all day imputting data. The problem largely stems from many hours spent in a static position while doing the same thing repeatedly. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.