News Release USDL: 97-39
Monday, February 3, 1997
Contact: Susan Hall Fleming, (202) 219-8151
Nancy C. Adams Named OSHA Ergonomics Coordinator
A new four-pronged effort to address repetitive stress
injuries will be managed within the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) by Nancy C. Adams, a 20-year agency
veteran who is assuming the role of ergonomics coordinator.
In December, then Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich announced
that OSHA would employ a variety of strategies to combat
repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), which today account for one of
every three dollars in employer workers' compensation costs.
OSHA's new approach includes educational activities, research,
enforcement and rulemaking. Adams will oversee and coordinate
"Nancy Adams will bring her extensive field background, her
understanding of OSHA's enforcement program and her headquarters
experience to her new post and draw together the various strands
of OSHA's multi-faceted plan to help employers prevent RSIs,"
said Gregory R. Watchman, acting assistant secretary of labor for
occupational safety and health.
Ergonomics involves fitting the job to the worker. When
there is a mismatch between the physical requirements of the job
and the physical capacity of the worker, repetitive stress
injuries (RSIs) can result. RSIs are one of the fastest growing
workplace injuries, costing employers more than $20 billion for
2.73 million workers' compensation claims in 1993.
Adams will draw on the lessons the agency learned at the
OSHA/NIOSH joint conference on ergonomics held last month in
Chicago. More than 1,000 participants heard about successful
ergonomics programs that saved employers money but were
implemented primarily because employers believed that preventing
RSIs was the "right thing to do."
Speakers from manufacturing, construction, warehousing and
service industries spoke on the need for management commitment
and employee involvement in designing effective programs. They
also told participants that many of the "fixes" for ergonomic
problems were simple and cheap, and most were suggested by
employees and implemented by maintenance staff.
Adams began her career in OSHA's Albany area office in 1975,
moving on to Washington, D.C., then Boston and then back to
Washington. She joined the New York regional office in 1985,
served as Long Island area director for ten years and then moved
back to the New York regional office as deputy regional
administrator in 1995.
A 1973 graduate of Millersville State College in
Millersville, Pa., she earned her Master of Science degree in
Environmental and Occupational Health from Hunter College in New
York in 1995. Adams was named 1994 Safety Professional of the
Year by the Long Island chapter of the American Society of Safety