Not any time soon, predicts David Cochran, University of Nebraska industrial engineer who spent three years at OSHA helping to draft the reg Congress dumped. Speaking at the Applied Ergo Conference, he predicts nothing will happen for at least 4 years.

New rulemaking takes a long time to gear up, he explains. Congress might force OSHA to do something, but he doubts it.

Cochran also questions if OSHA may have lost its will to enforce ergonomics using the OSH Act’s general duty clause.

Cochran doesn’t like regulation, but spent 3 years in Washington working 10-hour days and weekends crafting ergo rules because he says some businesses won’t budge without ‘em.

Most, though, will “do” ergonomics because they don’t want to injure workers, and they see cost-savings through less turnover and better productivity and quality, he says.

Replacing each worker lost to an ergo injury costs $3,0000 - $5,000, Cochran says. One GM plant competing for conference’s Ergo Cup eliminated $75,000 in back and shoulder injury costs with $27,000 investment in lift tables and rails. Recordable injuries dropped from 11 per month to one per month, thanks to an ergo program.

“We know ergonomics works,” says plant ergo team member.