OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
February 20, 1990
Mr. Robert F. Harbrant
Food & Allied Service Trades - AFL-CIO -
815 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. Harbrant:
This is in response to your letter of January 12, regarding guidelines being developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for dealing with ergonomic hazards in the workplace.
The ergonomic program management guidelines that the Agency is now preparing form a part of OSHA's National Special Emphasis Program in Meat Packing. This special emphasis program is designed as a pilot effort which will cover only red meat packing facilities. The Agency will, however, continue to conduct inspections related to ergonomic hazards in the poultry industry and other industries where cumulative trauma disorders are found. We believe the meat packing guidelines contain much information that may be useful to employers in other industries in dealing with ergonomic problems, and OSHA will make copies of the guidelines available to all interested parties.
In addition, OSHA plans to draw upon its experience with the meat packing guidelines and the special emphasis program to develop ergonomic program guidelines applicable to general industry in the near future. We currently hope to have a draft of these general guidelines available in the summer of 1990. These guidelines will be written to assist employers in developing sound ergonomic programs to combat cumulative trauma disorders in the wide range of industries you mentioned.
We appreciate your support and continuing interest in this important area of workplace safety and health. If we may be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us again.
Gerard F. Scannell