OSHA Issues Final Ergonomics Standard - Broad Rule Imposes Bureaucratic Maze, Requires Comprehensive Ergonomics Programs
By Gregory R. Watchman
On November 14, 2000, the U.S. Occupationa. Safety and Health Administration published the final Ergonomics Standard in the Federal Register. The far-reaching rule imposes a complex bureaucratic maze on millions of manufacturing, service, financial, educational and other general industry employers. U.S. firms will have to establish comprehensive ergonomics programs if just two of their employees claim to have experienced a sign or symptom of a “musculoskeletal disorder” such as carpal tunnel syndrome or low back pain. Employers and even OSHA inspectors will face uncertainty and confusion in applying the rule’s many processes and undefined terms to the diverse workplaces, jobs and work activities found across the country.