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AIHA, ASSE take different approaches to OSHA's ergo action

November 22, 2000
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It’s interesting to compare reactions to OSHA’s ergonomics standard from two of the leading safety and health professional organizations — the 13,000-member American Industrial Hygiene Association and the 33,000-member American Society of Safety Engineers.

AIHA’s initial response was more cautious: “AIHA and its members will carefully review the final OSHA ergonomics standards and will continue to offer comments and suggestions as needed,” the group said in a statement. AIHA said it supported the need for an ergonomics standard, and for more ergo-related research. The group’s strongest statement so far — “AIHA believes that claims to delay this proposal because of a lack of data are unfounded” — refutes one of the key protest points of business groups.

ASSE was more specific about flaws in the final rule that it believes could derail the entire standard. Chief among them: OSHA made major changes in the final requirements, such as the new action trigger, without giving safety pros and others the chance to comment. ASSE said in a statement: “There still appears to be the absence of a clear triggering incident… a better approach would have been to require a hazard assessment.” ASSE also wanted worker restriction provisions dropped, which are still included in the final standard.

“It will be crucial to use the services of a skilled and competent safety professional” when conducting ergonomic hazard analyses, said ASSE. “Our members stand ready to implement the standard.”

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