When OSHA published its regulatory agenda this month, acting administrator Jordan Barab held a one-hour Web chat to answer questions about it. One of the most popular inquiries: ergonomic injuries and what OSHA plans to do about them.
In the 60-minute Web chat, Barab received five questions about ergonomics.
One thing is for sure: Ergonomics is a priority now at OSHA. At a minimum, the agency would like companies to make ergonomics a more frequent safety training topic to reduce related injuries. And the current administration has signaled that, even without an ergonomics standard, it will use the General Duty Clause to issue citations when inspections uncover ergonomic problems.
Here’s what we know from Barab’s answers to questions during the Web chat:
- While OSHA will propose a rule to define work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) and add a separate column for them on its required workplace injuries log (300 Log), Barab said that isn’t a prelude to a broader ergonomic standard. OSHA has no plan for regulatory activity on WMSDs at this time, Barab said.
- OSHA hopes requiring companies to note ergonomic injuries on the 300 Log will provide useful information that employers and workers can use to better identify WMSDs in the workplace.
- Barab said the new OSHA administrator, David Michaels “will intensify the process of determining how we are going to address ergonomics.” Barab also said Michaels will address ergonomics “as one of his highest priorities.”
- Industry-specific standards, such as safe patient handling in healthcare facilities, is one option OSHA will consider.
How should OSHA handle ergonomics? Let us know in the Comments Box below.