OSHA Effective Ergonomics: Four-Pronged Comprehensive Approach
OSHA currently has 25 strategic partnerships with an emphasis on ergonomics.
OSHA has signed 23 national ergonomic Alliances and 17 regional ergonomic Alliances who are working with OSHA on a number of projects. Several Alliance program participants, including the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the Airline Industry Alliance and the National Telecommunications Safety Panel are working on industry-developed ergonomics manuals. Three Alliance participants—the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Orthopaedic Surgeons—are working together to develop guidance on worker-related upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. The Dow Chemical Company helped develop an extensive case study of its successful approach to ergonomics.
OSHA staff serves as adjunct members on AIHA's Ergonomics Committee. The OSHA Training Institute Education Centers conducted 35 ergonomic classes for 536 students in FY2003 and have scheduled 84 ergonomics classes in FY2004.
OSHA provided ergonomic workstation training and evaluation assistance to several government agencies, including the IRS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
OSHA’s Ergonomics Safety and Health Topics webpage reflects the Agency’s four-pronged strategy to reduce ergonomic injuries. The web page provides information on ergonomics guidelines, enforcement actions, NACE committee membership and meetings, eTools, cooperative programs, a library of 42 success stories from a variety of industries and case studies.
OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman, to distribute ergonomics information to small businesses. OSHA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce jointly developed a webcast on the willingness and ability of businesses to adopt and implement ergonomics policies.
OSHA awarded more than $1.2 million in Susan Harwood Training Program Grants to ten organizations to conduct training in new industry-specific ergonomics guidelines in FY2003. In FY2002, four organizations received more than $550,000 for new grants for ergonomics training; four others received more than $690,000 in second year grant awards to address ergonomics.
National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics
OSHA established a 15-member National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics (NACE), with representatives from industry, academia, labor, and the legal and medical professions. More than 250 people were nominated in response to a Federal Register announcement seeking nominations to NACE.
The first NACE meeting took place in January 2003. Subsequent meetings were held in May 2003, September 2003, January 2004 and May 2004.
A final meeting is scheduled for November 2004. Discussion at the meetings has centered on task-specific guidelines, research needs and efforts and outreach and assistance methods to communicate the value of ergonomics.
Based upon a recommendation of the NACE research discussion group, OSHA sponsored a symposium entitled Musculoskeletal and Neurovascular Disorders - The State of Research Regarding Workplace Etiology and Prevention for published researchers on work-related musculoskeletal disorders to examine their studies and the methodologies used. This symposium was held in conjunction with the January 2004 NACE meeting.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
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