A draft ergonomics standard released by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is being reviewed for its impact on small business. Initial efforts are being focused on general industry where ergonomic problems can be severe and where solutions are known.
For example, manufacturing and manual handling operations, such as wholesaling, attribute about 60% of lost workdays to work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
The proposal is crafted around six elements: (1) management leadership and employee participation; (2) hazard identification and information; (3) job hazard analysis and control; (4) training; (5) medical management; and (6) program evaluation.
The draft specifies that employers in manufacturing and manual handling operations establish management leadership, employee participation and hazard identification and information within a year after the final rule becomes effective.
A final proposal is expected to be published in the Federal Register in September, after the proposed regulations have been reviewed for their economic impact on small business.