Trade News Release
Monday, May 22, 2000
Contact: Susan Hall Fleming
PHONE: (202) 693-1999
OSHA SEEKS COMMENTS ON IMPACT OF ERGONOMICS PROPOSAL ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, POSTAL SERVICE, RAILROADS
OSHA will hold an informal public hearing on July 7, 2000, on information scheduled for publication in the Federal Register tomorrow on the economic impact of its proposed ergonomics standard on state and local governments, the United States Postal Service and railroads. Public comments on these issues are due no later than June 22, 2000.
While OSHA's ergonomics proposal addresses these workers, the original economic impact statement did not include these costs. Although OSHA does not cover state and local government workers, states that run their own OSHA programs (about half the states) do and would cover workers within their jurisdictions. The supplemental economic analysis concludes that the ergonomics proposal would affect another 8.7 million workers in state and local government at more than 165,000 sites. OSHA estimates these workers experience about 175,000 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) each year. Implementation of the proposal would prevent an average of more than 47,000 injuries per year.
OSHA estimates more than 900,000 postal workers are employed at nearly 34,000 sites and experience nearly 30,000 MSDs each year. About 9,400 injuries to postal workers could be prevented under the ergonomics standard.
The analysis identifies more than 225,000 railroad employees at some 4,800 railroad establishments with a total of 1,250 MSDs annually. Nearly 200 injuries would be avoided each year under the proposal.
OSHA estimates that adding the three groups to its ergonomics proposal would raise the total net costs by nearly $420 million per year while the annual benefits would increase by $1 billion annually.
The public hearing on the economic impact of the ergonomics proposal on state and local government workers, railroad employees and U.S. Postal Service workers will be held July 7, beginning at 9:00 a.m., in the auditorium of the Francis Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.
Notices of intention to appear at the informal public hearing must be postmarked by June 14, 2000, and four copies sent to Ms. Veneta Chatmon, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, Docket No. S-777, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Room N3647, Washington, D.C. 20210. Notices also may be faxed to Ms. Chatmon at 202-693-1634 or submitted electronically through OSHA's webpage at www.osha.gov.
Those who request more than 10 minutes for oral presentations or plan to submit documentary evidence must submit their full testimony and/or evidence to Ms. Chatmon, postmarked no later than June 27, 2000. Four copies of the materials or one hard copy and a 3 ½ inch computer disk in WordPerfect or ASCII should be provided.
Written comments can be mailed, in duplicate, to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S-777, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N2625, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments 10 pages or less may be faxed to 202-693-1648. Comments also can be transmitted electronically through OSHA's website at www.osha.gov. Post-hearing comments on the economic impact of the ergonomics proposal on the three groups are due no later than Aug. 10, 2000. Final post-hearing comments following the initial nine-week hearing on the proposal are also due that day.
Through the ergonomics rulemaking, OSHA is seeking to prevent an average of 300,000 lost-workday injuries related to overexertion or repetitive motion each year, about half the serious musculoskeletal disorders that American men and women suffer annually on the job. The agency's proposal focuses on high risk production jobs in manufacturing and manual handling jobs throughout general industry.
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The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.