OSHA Seeks Ergo Observations

August 30, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published the first set of industry-specific ergonomic guidelines - and officials there want to know what you think.

Earlier this year the Department of Labor (DoL) announced that it planned to develop voluntary guidelines for certain industries to cut down on workplace injuries, replacing the Clinton-era regulations rejected by Congress in 2001.

At that time the DoL said it planned a four-pronged approach for addressing muskuloskeletal disorders (MSDs).  One such prong called for OSHA to develop industry or task-specific guidelines.

Guidelines for Nursing Homes is the first industry-specific guidelines, and was intended to provide practical solutions for reducing ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses in nursing homes. They will not be used for enforcement purposes, according to OSHA.

Guide “Lines”

The Guidelines for Nursing Homes are in three parts, with a reference list at the end:

  • Management Practices – discusses the importance of management commitment and employee participation in ergonomics training, occupational health management of musculoskeletal disorders, and ergonomics program evaluation
  • Worksite Analysis – discusses assessment of resident handling tasks and activities other than resident handling
  • Control Methods – contains illustrations that demonstrate various methods to control common ergonomic stressors.

Draft guidelines are being developed for other industries and will also be available for comment.

“These guidelines are the result of an extensive and cooperative process involving a wide-ranging, inclusive review of both scientific information and existing ergonomic practices and programs in the nursing home,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw.

Comment Airing

Interested parties must submit written comments by September 30. Individuals are required to submit their intent to participate in a one-day stakeholder meeting by September 19. (Note: The meeting will be held in the Washington, D.C. area; location and date will be announced following comment period).

Written comments (10 pages or fewer) and intent to participate can be faxed to OSHA’s Docket Office at 202-693-1648 or sent electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov .

Further information on submitting comments can be obtained by calling the Docket Office at 202-693-2350.

OSHA’s Guidelines for Nursing Homes is now available.