Let’s begin by recapping ergonomics in the United States. OSHA tried to promulgate an ergonomics program standard containing six elements. Businesses contended a standard was unnecessary, but are generally willing to accept voluntary guidelines providing more information on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
This scenario is not being played only in the US. This summer, the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work (ACSHH) released an opinion on MSDs. The Luxembourg based group gave a six-page opinion, which reviews current directives and standards, or draft versions thereof, addressing or encompassing ergonomics and the prevention of work related MSDs.
The opinion includes recognized MSDs, possible factors impeding the development of more comprehensive legislation concerning MSDs, and a framework for what such legislation might include.
Following the Ad Hoc opinion is a one-page response from an Employers’ group stating that further regulatory action is not necessary. The group lists reasons why such action is believed to be unnecessary and also offers some possible solutions.
The opinion can be viewed at http://www.etuc.org/tutb/uk/pdf/opinion-acsh-msd.pdf.