Today OSHA announced the posting of the final ergonomics standard. The long drawn-out battle between Republicans and Democrats, unions and business, Congress and the President has ended with the standard crafting its way into the Federal Register. Where and how it goes from here will probably be just as lively and eventful.
But one thing has permanently changed. Ergonomics is no longer the unusual word acknowledged only by professors and progressive employers. Pushed forward by the strong hand of OSHA it has now worked its way into mainstream media, political messages and employee break rooms. With or without the final standards, ergonomics is here to stay.
On November 23, 1999, OSHA proposed an ergonomics standard to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. After 8,000 written public comments and testimony from 700 witnesses during public hearings, OSHA posted the final ergonomics standard today. OSHA says that 1.8 million workers have MSDs related to ergonomic factors, and 600,000 of these workers miss some work every year because of their injuries.
The responses to the final rules are loud, contentious and mixed. Here