OSHA & ergonomics: What now?
What happens now? Anything but another stab at a federal standard, according to Washington sources contacted by Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.
"I'd be floored if they said they were coming out with a standard and deadlines," said one OSHA watcher.
"You're not going to see any rules and regulations coming out of OSHA in the next three years," said a safety association government affairs expert.
Despite anti-reg Republicans now running OSHA, there has been some waffling within the White House and the Department of Labor over the political value of pursuing a standard to address the worst ergo problems, according to one source.
But most bets are on OSHA issuing "best practices" guidelines similar to a voluntary guide drafted specifically for the meatpacking industry years ago. Industry, especially large "Fortune 100" corporations, will be expected to partner with OSHA and show how ergo programs have bottom-line benefits in addition to protecting employees. And the agency will probably shake its enforcement stick and threaten inspections and penalties for companies that completely ignore ergo problems.