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TRADE NEWS RELEASE
January 22, 2003
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999


ERGONOMICS ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOCUSES ON PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR REDUCING INJURIES

Washington -- OSHA Administrator John Henshaw welcomed the 15-member National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics (NACE) today with a challenge to help the agency achieve its goal of reducing musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace.

"The work you're about to begin is of paramount importance to our nation's workers," Henshaw said. "The advice of this blue-ribbon committee of distinguished experts will directly contribute to the success of our comprehensive plan to drive down ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses in the workplace."

The committee was selected by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao last December and is tasked with advising her and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA on ergonomic guidelines, research, outreach and assistance. Chartered for two years, the committee met for the first time today.

"We want you to help us reduce the best available science to practice," Henshaw said. "We need strategies that a plant manager, a front-line supervisor, or a small business owner can readily adopt and use right now to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and help workers immediately."

Committee Chair Carter Kerk said that he and the other members "look forward to working with OSHA and providing the best possible advice on how to reduce MSDs in the workplace. That is the agency's goal, and that is our goal too," he said.

The committee also heard from John Howard, head of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) who said that his agency and OSHA were working together on several fronts, including ergonomics. "I am pleased to share information about musculoskeletal research with the committee," he said, "and look forward to further collaboration as we join forces to reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace." Committee members also received comments from the National Coalition of Ergonomics and the AFL-CIO.

Discussion among committee members centered on task-specific guidelines, research needs and efforts, and outreach and assistance methods to communicate the value of ergonomics.

OSHA announced last April the agency's strategy to reduce ergonomic injuries. The four-pronged approach includes guidelines, research, outreach and assistance, and enforcement. Since then, three industries -- nursing homes, retail grocery stories, and poultry processing -- have stepped forward to work with the agency to create the first sets of guidelines.

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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This news release text is on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.

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.


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