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  Ergonomics Update
 
OSHA and industry stakeholders are working together
to develop guidelines to protect workers.
OSHA is working with stakeholders to develop ergonomics guidelines to protect nursing home workers. OSHA is working closely with stakeholders to develop industry- and task-specific guidelines to protect workers from ergonomic injuries and illnesses. The first sets of guidelines, expected to be available in draft form for public comment later this year, will cover nursing homes, grocery stores, and poultry processing plants.

"I look forward to coordinating with these professions and workers to develop these first sets of industry-specific guidelines to prevent ergonomics hazards," says John L.Henshaw, OSHA Administrator . "It makes sound business sense for the stakeholders involved to be the first to tackle ergonomics problems in their industries."

Henshaw says the agency is beginning its efforts by focusing on industries and tasks associated with ergonomic injuries for which successful strategies are known. "Reallife solutions come from real-life experience," he says.

Industry representatives have pledged to work with OSHA to develop the draft guidelines. "The American Health Care Association (AHCA) stands for a safe work environment for all longterm care employees and welcomes the opportunity to work with OSHA on the voluntary ergonomic guidelines," says Dr. Charles H. Roadman II, President and CEO of AHCA. "These guidelines, when implemented, will build upon the ergonomics programs already in place at many nursing facilities and draw on their expertise in caring for the infirm, frail, elderly, and persons with disabilities."New guidelines are expected to reduce injuries and illnesses among poultry processors.

Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Tim Hammonds says, "Over the past decade, the food retail industry has taken the lead in reducing repetitive-motion injuries. We are pleased to answer OSHA Administrator John Henshaw's call to join in the development of guidelines and information, which our member companies may GATF use voluntarily to reduce injuries even further."

Mike Klun, Chairman of the poultry industry's Joint Safety and Health Committee, formed by the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation, says the industry looks forward to working with OSHA in developing ergonomic guidelines. "The poultry industry has extensive experience in ergonomics, and many companies already have guidelines in place," he says. "We can contribute the lessons we have learned in how to avoid ergonomic problems and how to deal with them when they occur."

The draft guidelines will be announced in the Federal Register and posted on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov for review and comment. Henshaw says they will ensure prevention, flexibility, and feasibility. This approach, he believes, will enable employers and worker s to tailor recommendations and best practices to their workplaces.

"We know that one size does not fit all, and this provides the flexibility needed to reduce injuries," he says.

OSHA Allies with Printing, Graphics Arts Industries

OSHA, the Printing Industries of America/Graphics Arts Technical Foundation and the Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association International have formally agreed to work together in an alliance to share best practices and technical knowledge on ergonomics to prevent injuries and illnesses in the printing and graphic arts industries.

Under the alliance, the partners will work together to develop and disseminate best practices information on ergonomics at conferences, including the national print show, GraphExpo, this October in Chicago. Further, the partners will make information available on their websites. Companies that are members of these associations will be encouraged to implement these best practices and dramatically reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders. They also will be encouraged to participate in OSHA cooperative programs such as the Voluntary Protection Programs and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.

In addition, alliance members will promote the national dialogue on workplace safety and health through joint outreach efforts, sharing data that support solutions to ergonomic hazards, and convening and participating in forums and round-table discussions to identify innovative solutions to ergonomic issues in the printing and graphic arts industry. Finally, participants will develop and deliver training and education programs for industry workers.

"This alliance is the first of many we expect to sign with industries that are moving forward to address ergonomics as part of their effort to strengthen safety and health in their workplaces," says OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw.
OSHA is working with the Printing Industries of America/Graphics Arts Technical Foundation and the Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association International to protect workers in the printing and graphic arts industries from ergonomic injuries.