National News Release USDL [02-236]
Date: April 18, 2002
Contact: Sue Hensley
Phone: (202) 693-4676
Bonnie Freidman (202) 693-1999
Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces First Set Of
Industry-Specific Ergonomics Guidelines
OSHA Reaches Out to Nursing Home Providers and Workers to Develop
Guidelines to Reduce Ergonomics Injuries
Washington -- U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao today announced that the first industry-specific guidelines to reduce ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses will be developed for nursing homes. Representatives from the field have agreed to work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop a draft for public comment.
"We are serious about reducing injury and illness rates related to ergonomics as quickly as possible," Chao said. "We want to work with the nursing home profession and workers to develop guidelines to reduce the level of injuries and illnesses in this industry. Those who have chosen the nursing home profession are crucial to the quality care of our elderly and seriously ill family members. These devoted workers who care for our loved ones merit the care and attention they give others."
"Nursing home workers suffer back injuries and other ergonomics-related problems. Our goal is to prevent these types of injuries and illnesses from occurring," said John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "I look forward to coordinating with the profession and workers to develop this first set of industry-specific guidelines to prevent ergonomics hazards. With the nursing shortage and other issues confronting this industry, it makes sound business sense for the stakeholders involved to be the first to tackle ergonomic problems in their industry."
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. 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.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.