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"This document was published prior to the publication of OSHA's final rule on Ergonomics Program (29 CFR 1910.900, November 14, 2000), and therefore does not necessarily address or reflect the provisions set forth in the final standard."

News Release USDL: 97-304
Friday, August 29 1997
Contact: Bill Wright (202)219-8151


When a capacity crowd of industry leaders gathered in Chicago last January to examine musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive stress injuries, discussion centered on finding solutions to reduce one of the nation's most common and costly occupational health problems. The proceedings from the two-day conference are now available on the Internet at

More than 1,000 people attended the national conference co-sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Called "Ergonomics: Effective Workplace Practices and Programs," the seminar provided a forum for business, government, labor and academia representatives to share information about effective workplace ergonomics programs.

"Ergonomic solutions are not one-size-fits-all remedies," said Gregory R. Watchman, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "By providing a wide array of success stories and case histories, we hope to offer practical information for employers and employees alike."

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are now the nation's largest workplace health problem. Each year, more than 700,000 workers develop work-related overexertion or repetitive stress injuries or disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, accounting for more than 60 percent of all occupational illnesses, and resulting in at least $20 billion annually in worker's compensation costs.

The conference agenda offered a balanced and wide variety of speakers to encourage a dialog among those actually in workplaces attempting to implement successful ergonomic programs. More than 80 speakers made presentations, including industry officials who manage ergonomics programs, as well as workers, union leaders, and occupational health professionals. The presentations contained in the conference proceedings describe programs and approaches that already have been instituted in a wide range of U.S. workplaces to protect workers from job-related musculoskeletal problems.

Discussions covered such topics as worksite analysis, training, program evaluation and employee involvement. Several themes cut across all industries:

  • ergonomics programs are practical and reduce business costs;

  • most companies follow current OSHA ergonomics management guidelines for meatpacking plants;

  • management commitment and employee participation are critical, and

  • many fixes are simple and inexpensive.

The proceedings of the national conference can be accessed via OSHA's home page at under "Ergonomics." The proceedings can also be found on the NIOSH home page at

Further information on job-related musculoskeletal disorders is available on both web sites. Additional information can be obtained by calling NIOSH at (800) 356-6474.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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