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Unified Agenda - Table of Contents


Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 USC 801 is undetermined.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined

Legal Authority: 29 USC 651; 29 USC 652; 29 USC 655; 29 USC 657; 33 USC 941; 40 USC 333

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910; 29 CFR 1915; 29 CFR 1917; 29 CFR 1918; 29 CFR 1926; 29 CFR 1928

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a leading cause of pain, suffering, and disability in American workplaces. Since the 1980's, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has had a number of initiatives related to addressing these problems, including enforcement under the general duty clause, issuance of guidelines for the meatpacking industry, and development of other compliance-assistance materials.

Ultimately, the Agency decided that, given the increasing magnitude of the problem, a regulatory approach should be explored to ensure that the largest possible number of employers and employees become aware of the problems and ways of preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. An open process to develop and consider regulatory alternatives was initiated with the publication of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on August 3, 1992 (57 FR 34192). About 300 comments were received in response to that request. In addition to the public comments, OSHA has examined and analyzed the extensive scientific literature documenting the problem of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the causes of the problem, and effective solutions; conducted a telephone survey of over 3,000 establishments regarding their current practices to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders; and completed a number of site visits to facilities with existing programs. The Agency has also held numerous stakeholder meetings to solicit input from individuals regarding the possible contents of a standard to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders, and on a draft proposed regulatory text and supporting documents. Agency representatives have delivered numerous outreach presentations to people who are interested in this subject; consulted professionals in the field to obtain expert opinions on various aspects of the options considered by the Agency; and field-tested certain requirements under consideration for the standard. Information obtained from these activities is undergoing Agency review. Options for regulatory action are being considered.

The Agency believes that the scientific evidence supports the need for a standard and that the availability of effective and reasonable means to control these hazards has been demonstrated. The criteria that have been developed for setting OSHA priorities support the Agency's determination that action is needed now to reduce the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The Agency is currently considering options to develop a proposed rule for ergonomics. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently issued a report evaluating the scientific basis for the relationship of workplace stressors to MSDs. The report concludes that such a relationship exists for many stressors.


Action Date FR Cite

ANPRM 08/03/92 57 FR 34192
ANPRM Comment Period End 02/01/93
NPRM 00/00/00

Small Entities Affected: Undetermined

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined

Agency Contact: Adam Finkel, Director, Health Standards Programs, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N3718, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 219-7075
Fax: 202 219-7125

RIN: 1218-AB36

Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

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