OSHA Continues Ergonomics Push with RIMS Agreement and Naming of Regional Ergo Coordinators

Ergoweb is not the only one promoting ergonomics at the 40th Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Annual meeting in New Orleans this week. In fact, ergonomics has become a key focus at this year's event.

Following the April 5th announcement of OSHA's approach to workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), OSHA and RIMS announced a partnership to provide better workplace safety. RIMS has been a supporter of ergonomics in the workplace and testified at Department of Labor hearings on ergonomics last year.

David Mair, president of the 7,500-member RIMS signed the Alliance with Assistant Secretary Henshaw on April 14 that begins a cooperative association built on a foundation of outreach and communication, and training and education.

The Alliance will allow OSHA and RIMS the opportunity to combine their collective expertise in safety and health and risk management by sharing best practices and technical knowledge. Key to the Alliance is a combined effort in communication by more effective use of web sites, magazines, newsletters, etc. The Alliance encourages employers to incorporate safety and health into their overall business management system. Links will also be established between OSHA area offices and local and state RIMS chapters. Representatives of both organizations will meet quarterly to ensure goals of the Alliance are achieved.

"We know that safety and health add value, and RIMS is going to help us continue to make the business case for safety and health," OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw said at the signing ceremony in New Orleans. "We want to drive injuries and illnesses down, and this alliance advances our cooperation with RIMS and will advance the promotion of safety and health."

Speaking from the RIMS conference, Peter Budnick, Ergoweb's CEO said, "It's the lack of ergonomics that creates risk. Ergonomics is a tool we use to produce measurable reductions in risk. Properly understood and applied, ergonomics is an opportunity for business, not a barrier. That's a message we hope to share with our risk management colleagues."

In other news, OSHA named 10 OSHA professionals throughout the country to assist local compliance officers and other OSHA staff on ergonomic issues. Each ergonomic coordinator is based in one of 10 regional offices. The coordinators will assist OSHA compliance officers in enforcement, outreach and assistance.