When Congress overturned OSHA’s ergonomics standard in 2001, the agency was also barred from issuing a similar rule in the future. However, that hasn’t stopped OSHA from handing out citations for ergonomic hazards.
Patrick Kapust with OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs told attendees at the recent American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Safety 2009 conference that the agency has issued 19 General Duty Clause citations for ergonomics since 2002.
During the same time period, OSHA conducted 4,500 ergonomic inspections and issued 640 hazard alert letters on ergonomics. The companies that received those letters can expect follow-up from OSHA.
Also at the ASSE conference, OSHA administrator Jordan Barab said ergonomics was “the 60,000-pound elephant in the room.” He acknowledged the prohibition on a new ergonomics standard, but said, when it comes to ergonomics, “we can fix this.”