From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Yellowstone and OSHA Discuss Ergonomics Partnership

Yellowstone National Park officials met with representatives of OSHA last week to discuss the possibility of a partnership focusing on ergonomics at the park.

The partnership would act as an extension of a five-year safety-related program between Yellowstone and OSHA, the first developed by OSHA at a national park. According to Yellowstone’s Safety and Health Manager Brandon Gauthier, a focus on ergonomics would act to resolve what is now the park’s number one cause of work-related injuries.

“We have about 800 employees during peak summer months,” said Gauthier, who noted that the most common work-related injury at the park came from box lifting. Last Thursday’s meeting was conducted to see if OSHA was interested in renewing their recently-expired partnership with Yellowstone and to look at ideas regarding ergonomics at the park.

Currently, Yellowstone has no set ergonomics program in place and, according to Gauthier, the park relies on a “brush fire program” to address individual problems as they arise. In 1997, OSHA did a comprehensive inspection of Yellowstone National Park and identified over 600 safety violations that prompted the original Yellowstone and OSHA partnership. Since implementing the partnership five years ago, work-related injury rates at the park have dropped. Gauthier attributes the drop to, among other things, an increased awareness of safety by the park’s employees.

Yellowstone National Park is the nation’s oldest national park. Located in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, the park hosts approximately three million visitor’s annually. Ergoweb Inc. previously reported on ergonomics at Yellowstone National Park in relation to snowmobiles in the December 2002 Ergonomics Report(TM).