OSHA’s ergonomics standard goes into effect January 16, 2001, with compliance set to begin no later than October 2001. Here are five steps you can take now to get ready, according to the consulting firm Humantech:

  • Read the two-page summary of the OSHA rule provided in Appendix B — a clear and concise starting point. The standard’s requirements are spelled out over 25 pages, and the entire document, including the preamble and appendices, runs more than 600 pages.

  • Review your history of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to get a grip on just how big of an impact the standard will have on your operations.

  • Explain to your management team how the standard’s requirements will impact your business.

  • Identify the gaps between your current ergonomics program and compliance requirements, and begin planning on how to close those gaps.

  • Train your supervisors and technical staff on ergo problem solving. You can expect an increase in employee reports of MSD signs and symptoms once the standard kicks in, so identifying and reducing hazards now can avoid MSD reports later.