DoL to Unveil Ergonomic Guidelines

April 5, 2002 ( - The Labor Department will develop voluntary guidelines for certain industries to cut down on workplace injuries, replacing the Clinton-era regulations rejected by Congress last year, the Associated Press reports.

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said the new plan was an improvement on the older regulations because “it will prevent ergonomics injuries before they occur and reach a much larger number of at-risk workers.”

The four-part plan includes a move by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop voluntary guidelines aimed at certain industries and certain tasks in the within six months.

In addition, OSHA plans to:

  • research injury rates across industry sectors and determine to determine which would benefit from the guidelines
  • train certain staff on workplace hazards
  • appoint 10 regional coordinators manage enforcement and outreach
  • offer training grants to help address workplace injuries
  • set up an Internet site to promote safety and prevention
  • target Hispanics and immigrant workers, many of whom work in industries with high rates of ergonomics hazards
  • develop an advisory committee to study ergonomics and identify areas that need attention.

Enforcement efforts will not focus on employers that have already implemented effective ergonomics programs or who are trying to reduce ergonomics hazards, the AP report said.