Safety and OSHA News

OSHA withdraws ergonomics proposal; 2nd such action in a week

Just hours before President Obama’s State of the Union speech in which he focused on job creation, OSHA withdrew its second major proposal in a week and said it would seek more input from small businesses on a change to injury logs.

On Tuesday afternoon, OSHA announced it temporarily withdrew from review by the Office of Management and Budget its proposal to add a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) on injury logs.

The press release said OSHA withdrew the proposal “to seek greater input from small businesses on the impact of the proposal and will do so through outreach in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.”

“It is clear that the proposal has raised concern among small businesses,” said OSHA administrator David Michaels, “so OSHA is facilitating an active dialogue between the agency and the small business community.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says MSDs account for 28% of all workplace injuries requiring time away from work in 2009.

OSHA says it will hold a meeting to listen to small businesses’ concerns about the MSD column proposal. Details on the meeting will be announced within a month.

Six days earlier, OSHA withdrew its proposed interpretation of the noise standard that would have forced companies to use more engineering and administrative controls to limit employee hearing loss, rather than relying on hearing protection.

Business groups had complained that such proposals from OSHA would hurt U.S. businesses and cost jobs.

What do you think about these recent OSHA actions in light of the Obama administration’s attempts to be more business friendly? Let us know in the Comments Box below.

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  1. Taken from
    January 25,

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSDs accounted for 28 percent of all reported workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2009.
    The proposed rule would not change existing requirements about when and under what circumstances employers must record MSDs on their injury and illness logs. While many employers are currently required to keep a record of workplace injuries and illnesses, including work-related MSDs, on the OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), the vast majority of small businesses are not required to keep such records. The proposed rule would require those employers already mandated to keep injury and illness records, and to record MSDs, to place a check mark in the new column for all MSDs.

    So I guess, I don’t get it. We don’t want to step on the toes of small business Because? If someone who Really…knows why this is a bad thing….(adding the MSD colum) could reply to this. I would love to see a different side. A small business owner perhaps.

  2. SafetyGoon says:

    Dave W,

    The National Association of Manufacturers has a summary of various employer representative’s comments on the proposed ruling. I’m not here to defend or refute their stance – I’m just answering your call for additional information. You can find the article on their website at:

    It is in PDF format.

  3. Whatmeworry says:

    Since MSDs are not currently reported as a separate category, BLS must gather this data from the online Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
    I’ve read that much of the opposition to this rule centers around employers not having sufficient medical expertise to determine if an injury is or is not a MSD. The way I see it, read the doctor report. It would have the diagnosis which then allows for classification of the injury.
    I agree with Dave – what’s the big deal?

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