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OSHA Trade Release
April 13, 2004
Contact: Bill Wright
Agreement highlights ergonomic-related issues
WASHINGTON -- Dental workers throughout the nation stand to benefit from an Alliance signed here yesterday between the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The ADA and OSHA signed the formal Alliance to provide a foundation for both organizations to work together to promote better working conditions for dental employees, with a specific focus on ergonomic issues.
"This cooperative effort has but one goal and that is to ensure that thousands of workers in the dental industry are afforded every means to have a safer and more healthful work environment particularly on ergonomic-related issues," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We're pleased that we can draw on the expertise of the American Dental Association, and we look forward to a long and constructive relationship."
Dr. Eugene Sekiguchi, ADA President said the Association will work with OSHA "to promote research and data collection toward a better understanding of musculoskeletal stress disorders in the dental office." Dr. James B. Bramson, the Association's executive director said the Alliance is an "historic opportunity to increase understanding between dentist and regulator in a cooperative non-enforcement atmosphere."
The Alliance calls for OSHA and the ADA to explore ways to determine whether ergonomics instruction is currently being included in dental schools' educational programs, and then encourage the incorporation of sound and proven ergonomics techniques into such curricula. Both organizations will also speak, exhibit and appear at conferences, local meetings or other events, and also disseminate information for dental employees through the media and from both organization's websites.
The ADA and OSHA will work together in the development of electronic assistance tools that address workplace safety and health issues for dental employees and will also share new ergonomics information related to dental workers with others in the industry.
Representatives of OSHA and the ADA will participate in forums and roundtable discussions to help make the case that healthy ergonomic practices are good business practices.
Representing more than 149,000 members, the ADA is a professional association of dentists. Established in 1859, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry.
OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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