Ergonomics: Standards

On July 20, 2001, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited President George W. Bush’s March 20, 2001, statement as follows:  “The safety and health of our Nation’s workforce is a priority for my administration.  Together we will pursue a comprehensive approach to ergonomics that addresses the concerns surrounding the ergonomics rule repealed today.  We will work with the Congress, the business community, and our Nation’s workers to address this important issue.”

It further states, “With these words, President Bush signed a joint resolution of Congress disapproving OSHA’s ergonomics standard, and at the same time, pledging to find a solution to ergonomic-related problems affecting the nation’s workforce.  OSHA’s ergonomics program standard was issued November 14, 2000, and took effect January 16, 2001.  Congress acted under authority of the Congressional Review Act of 1996.  As a result, the standard is no longer in effect, and employers and workers are not bound by its requirements.”

Today, I checked out OSHA’s web site and it makes no mention of the ergonomics standard being repealed.  It may be part of Obama Care; that is just my guess.  In fact, it is now referred to as the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 with amendments through 2004.

Bottom line is any employers should evaluate their workers for musculoskeletal disorders before they are hired so that they are not found to have an unsafe workplace that causes ergonomic injuries.

Further, for existing employees, if a person has any musculoskeletal pain, go to OSHA.gov to report any Work-related Injuries and Illnesses on their on-line Form 300 (Rev.01/2004) to be on the safe side.  Under OSHA’s General Duty clause, employers can be audited for not reporting a Work-related MSD; but as long as the employer reports the MSD (musculoskeletal disorder), they cannot get audited under the General Duty Clause for not reporting said MSD.  Employers can also call 1-800-321-OSHA to report any potential MSD’s that could be Work-related to make sure you are OSHA compliant.

 

Author: Melanie Loomos

I was a court reporter for 10 years and spent most of my time in very uncomfortable chairs. As a result, I spent years researching seating and submitted two patent applications: "The Carpal Tunnel Chair,” and "The Pillow with Cantilever Supports," which was granted and became The Buttpillow®. Subsequently, The Buttpillow® was improved upon as it was determined different embodiments were needed for proper ergonomic positioning depending on the individual sitter. The Patented "Ergonomic Seating Cushion,” was was granted by the USPTO; and was later amended to include an embodiment specifically to help women maintain the natural curve of their lumbar spine during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. An extreme lumbar curve that restricts blood flow to the fetus is the only external risk factor for low birth weight babies. Subsequently, in 2003, I invented Ergosoft™ break reminder software based on OSHAs Ergonomic Standard so people can identify and minimize ergonomic risk factors for the development of sitting-related pain, eye strain, DVT and carpal tunnel syndrome.

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