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OSHA's ergo plan marks anniversary

Since announcing last April its ergonomics plan to replace the ergo standard rejected by Congress, OSHA says it has made "significant progress" - issuing the first set of guidelines for the nursing home industry, forming the National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics, and establishing 12 national alliances with professional organizations and associations focusing specifically on ergonomics.

Draft guidelines for retail grocery stores are expected to be available for public comment shortly, and OSHA has begun drafting guidelines for the poultry industry and ship builders.

Regarding enforcement, OSHA has settled two enforcement cases by reaching agreement with companies to correct ergonomic hazards. Four General Duty Clause citations for ergonomic hazards have been issued recently; several others are in progress.

A National Emphasis Program (NEP) for the nursing home industry was announced in July 2002; it includes special focus on ergonomic hazards. OSHA has conducted 388 inspections under the NEP. One-hundred-three ergonomics inspections were conducted in industries other than nursing homes.

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