On November 21, OSHA and the Small Business Alliance signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help small businesses reduce ergonomics hazards through education, information, and training. According to an OSHA press release marking the event, as part of the agreement, “OSHA and SBA will establish an information sharing process to distribute ergonomics program information to small businesses. The partners also will create a referral procedure to submit small business input on industry and task-specific ergonomics guidelines.”
Memorandums of Understanding are the government agency equivalent of private industry Alliances also created by OSHA. In this specific Memorandum of Understanding, the first one seemingly created to address Ergonomics in particular, the Small Business Alliance is agreeing to distribute information and resources regarding ergonomics and take input from small businesses regarding ergonomics considerations. OSHA’s part in the process includes encouraging small businesses, of which there are currently in excess of 25 million in the U.S., to access ergonomics information, and help create an ergonomics information sharing process for small businesses. OSHA also created the press release to accompany the signing event.
Up to three-quarters of all new jobs generated in the United States in any given year are attributed to small businesses which can be as small as one-person sole proprietorships or as large as 500 employees. Any employee or employer falling into the small business category in the U.S. could be affected by this Memorandum of Understanding and any potential voluntary guidelines for small business ergonomics it generates.
Editor’s note: November’s Ergonomics Report, a 12-page monthly newsletter produced by Ergoweb Inc., addressed the issue of OSHA and Alliances in greater detail. Follow this link to inquire about a free trial issue of The Ergonomics Report.
Sources: OSHA, SBA