OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
"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."
Helping employers learn more about ergonomics--fitting the job to the worker--is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's goal in opening a new Internet web page on ergonomics and prevention of repetitive stress injuries, OSHA announced today. The new web page is located at http://www.osha.gov/ergo.
"We want to prevent pain and suffering for those working now even as we observe Workers Memorial Day to remember and honor those who have died on the job," said Gregory R. Watchman, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
"Ergonomics is about designing work and work stations to enable workers to avoid awkward reaches, uncomfortable postures and the need to use excessive force to do their jobs. Often simple and inexpensive changes can make a tremendous difference for workers in preventing short-term discomfort and long-term disability. Our new web page provides helpful information everyone can use right now to begin dealing with these issues," Watchman said.
Visitors to OSHA's new ergonomics web page will find:
help in setting up effective workplace ergonomics programs
OSHA publications and articles on ergonomics
highlights from a recent national conference on ergonomics
information on corporate-wide settlement agreements involving ergonomic issues
OSHA special emphasis initiatives to avoid repetitive stress injuries in meatpacking and nursing homes
a listing of international ergonomics standards
links to technical OSHA information
"We are committed to developing a standard to guide employers in protecting their workers against ergonomic hazards," Watchman said. He stressed that the agency also promised to provide as much information as possible to employers who want to begin immediately to focus on ergonomics and reduce the likelihood of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) among their workers.
Watchman noted that RSIs account for about one-fourth of the lost-time injuries reported each year. Although repetitive stress injuries declined somewhat in 1995, three-fifths of all work-related illnesses are associated with repeated trauma. About two-thirds of RSIs are back injuries while one-third involve upper extremities. These are expensive injuries, costing employers more than $20 billion each year in workers' compensation costs alone.
OSHA intends to address ergonomics through a four-pronged program including training, educational and outreach activities; study and analysis of work-related ergonomic hazards to identify innovative and cost-effective solutions; enforcement; and rulemaking. The ergonomics web page is part of the first phase of the education and outreach effort.
Watchman spoke at a ceremony at City Hall in Bridgeport, Conn., honoring the memory of 28 workers who died 10 years ago during construction of L'Ambiance Plaza. Joining him to mark the ninth annual Workers Memorial Day were Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and local union and public officials.
Workers Memorial Day was created by the AFL-CIO to recognize and remember workers who have died on the job. The focus this year is preventing repetitive stress and back injuries.
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