October 23, 1992
||JOHN T. PHILLIPS, REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR REGION VII|
||LEO CAREY, DIRECTOR OFFICE OF FIELD PROGRAMS|
||ROGER A. CLARK, DIRECTOR DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS|
||RAYMOND E. DONNELLY, DIRECTOR OFFICE OF GENERAL INDUSTRY COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE|
||Clarification of Settlement Agreement with National Beef Packing Company|
This is in response to your memorandum of August 5, requesting an opinion on the ergonomic settlement agreement with National Beef Packing Company, Liberal, Kansas. We apologize for the delay in this response.
The agreement is clear; OSHA intended the use of splints to be prescribed by an "authorized treating physician", on a case-by-case basis. The language of the agreement intentionally addresses any "affected body part", not just wrists. The company's use of elbow splints as adjunct to other treatment of elbow problems is acceptable only under the circumstances listed on page 40 of the agreement. That means the use of the elbow splints must be authorized by a physician who is knowledgeable about the company's ergonomic program as mandated by the settlement agreement and must be provided to employees along with proper instruction on their use.
This agreement prohibits wholesale distribution of these devices. The routine dispensing of elbow splints as devices to be worn as additional support during working hours also violates the agreement. It should be further noted that elbow splints are not preventive measures and therefore, are not recognized personal protective equipment.
For further clarification please forward all inquiries to Odet Shaw at 202-523-8031.