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Ergonomics Program - Final Rule

Federal Register, November 14, 2000, Page 68261

Agency

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Action

Final Rule

Summary

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is issuing a final Ergonomics Program standard (29 CFR 1910.900) to address the significant risk of employee exposure to ergonomic risk factors in jobs in general industry workplaces. Exposure to ergonomic risk factors on the job leads to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the upper extremities, back, and lower extremities. Every year, nearly 600,000 MSDs that are serious enough to cause time off work are reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics by general industry employers, and evidence suggests that an even larger number of non-lost worktime MSDs occur in these workplaces every year. The standard contains an ``action trigger,'' which identifies jobs with risk factors of sufficient magnitude, duration, or intensity to warrant further examination by the employer. This action trigger acts as a screen. When an employee reports an MSD, the employer must first determine whether the MSD is an MSD incident, defined by the standard as an MSD that results in days away from work, restricted work, medical treatment beyond first aid, or MSD symptoms or signs that persist for 7 or more days. Once this determination is made, the employer must determine whether the employee's job has risk factors that meet the standard's action trigger. The risk factors addressed by this standard include repetition, awkward posture, force, vibration, and contact stress. If the risk factors in the employee's job do not exceed the action trigger, the employer does not need to implement an ergonomics program for that job. If an employee reports an MSD incident and the risk factors of that employee's job meet the action trigger, the employer must establish an ergonomics program for that job. The program must contain the following elements: hazard information and reporting, management leadership and employee participation, job hazard analysis and control, training, MSD management, and program evaluation. The standard provides the employer with several options for evaluating and controlling risk factors for jobs covered by the ergonomics program, and provides objective criteria for identifying MSD hazards in those jobs and determining when the controls implemented have achieved the required level of control. The final standard would affect approximately 6.1 million employers and 102 million employees in general industry workplaces, and employers in these workplaces would be required over the ten years following the promulgation of the standard to control approximately 18 million jobs with the potential to cause or contribute to covered MSDs. OSHA estimates that the final standard would prevent about 4.6 million work-related MSDs over the next 10 years, have annual benefits of approximately $9.1 billion, and impose annual compliance costs of $4.5 billion on employers. On a per-establishment basis, this equals approximately $700; annual costs per problem job fixed are estimated at $250.

Dates

This final rule becomes effective on January 16, 2001. Compliance. Start-up dates for specific provisions are set in paragraph (w) of Sec. 1910.900. However, affected parties do not have to comply with the information collection requirements in the final rule until the Department of Labor publishes in the Federal Register the control numbers assigned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Publication of the control numbers notifies the public that OMB has approved these information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

Addresses

In compliance with 28 U.S.C. 2112(a), the Agency designates the Associate Solicitor for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Solicitor, Room S-4004, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210, as the recipient of petitions for review of the standard.

Further Information

For the FFEL Program, Mr. George Harris, or for the Direct Loan Program, Mr. Jon Utz; U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3045, ROB-3, Washington, DC 20202-5449. Telephone: (202) 708-8242

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