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Can healthcare pros handle ergonomics?

July 27, 2000
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The American Society of Safety Engineers worries that OSHA’s proposed ergo standard gives the impression that healthcare professionals are the preferred long-term choice for ergonomic consultations and evaluations.

OSHA is ignoring the overall limited background, training, education, and experience of healthcare professionals in ergonomics, according to ASSE.

“On several occasions we observed healthcare professionals testifying (during hearings on the ergo rule) about engineering controls even though it was apparent from the testimony that they had no idea of what they were testifying to,” ASSE President Samuel Gualardo stated in written comments to OSHA.

ASSE was concerned by statements referring to healthcare professionals as the “hub” of effective ergo intervention programs, and indicating that bending and lifting techniques are preferable to engineering controls.

“Perhaps the proposed standard needs to look more closely at proper credentials for those implementing the requirements just as is done with the asbestos rule,” said Gualardo.

ASSE wants the final ergo rule, slated for release later this year, to increase recognition of safety professionals who are educated and experienced in conducting workstation and work method analyses and making recommendations to mitigate hazards.

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