OSHA says it will continue to monitor and cite for unaddressed ergonomic hazards under the General Duty Clause. However, the plan emphasizes voluntary efforts to reduce workplace injuries through adherence to guidelines and best practices in specific high-hazard industries rather than to a national, so-called one-sizefits- all standard, according to information at the Web site. OSHA’s plan arose from public forums held in July 2001, meetings with stakeholder groups and individuals, analysis of comments and recommendations, examination of information gathered during development of the rescinded 2001 Ergonomics
Program Standard, and research on alternative approaches to mandatory standards.
Reaction to the OSHA announcement from industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers has been positive, whereas unions and other worker groups have criticized the plan. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called it “a meaningless gesture.”
Guidelines According to OSHA, industries and tasks that are reported to incur high injury/illness rates will be targeted in a series of new guidelines that draw on already developed guidelines (such as OSHA’s Meatpacking Guidelines) and best practices.
On April 18 OSHA announced plans to develop guidelines for nursing home providers and workers, one of the targeted industries that incurs high injury rates. Draft guidelines may be ready for public comment before the end of the year.