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OSHA Trade Release
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
For Immediate Release
TRADE NEWS RELEASE
Date: April 1, 2003
Contact: Layne Lathram
For Shipyard Industry
Fourth Set of Guidelines to Address Workplace Ergonomics Injuries
WASHINGTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will develop guidelines for the shipyard industry to help employers reduce ergonomic-related injuries among workers, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health John L. Henshaw announced today. Representatives from the industry and labor have agreed to work with OSHA to develop draft guidelines that will be available for public comment.
"We are continuing the process of working with stakeholders that want to reduce injuries and illnesses related to ergonomics," said Henshaw. "Several groups representing the shipyard industry, including the American Shipbuilding Association and the Shipbuilders Council of America, and labor groups, including the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, AFL-CIO, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, have expressed their willingness to work with us to develop these guidelines."
Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that in 2001, the injury and illness rate for the shipyard industry was 17.2 compared to an injury and illness rate of 5.7 for all private industry. In 2001, 33.6 % of injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work for shipyard workers were musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
"The shipyard industry has already demonstrated its commitment to work with OSHA to reduce the numbers of overall injuries and illnesses suffered by workers in shipyards," continued Henshaw. "For example, in January 2003, the Shipbuilders Council of America signed an alliance with OSHA to work together to share our information and resources to reduce injuries and illness in shipyards. We are delighted to continue to expand OSHA's collaboration with the industry to develop ergonomic-related guidelines to capitalize and expand on the work the industry has already done."
The draft guidelines are expected to be ready for public comment later this year. They will be published in the Federal Register for review before becoming final.
OSHA announced its comprehensive plan to dramatically reduce ergonomic injuries on April 5, 2002. In addition to industry-and-task-specific guidelines, the plan includes tough enforcement measures, workplace outreach, advanced research, and dedicated efforts to protect Hispanic and other immigrant workers. The first set of industry-specific guidelines -for the nursing home industry - was published in final form on March 13, 2003.
OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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