Here's what OSHA chief John Henshaw had to say at a recent ergonomics conference:

"I know our approach has been touted as a voluntary program. Let me make something very clear: reducing ergonomic hazards and providing a safe workplace is not voluntary.

"Does that mean we'll be enforcing guidelines? No, definitely not. What it does mean is if you have a problem with musculoskeletal disorders in your workplace, you need to address that."

Inspection history: From January 1, 2002, through November 26, 2002, OSHA conducted 63 inspections where ergonomics was or investigated. Most of these inspections were initiated as part of the Site-Specific Targeting Program. The rest resulted from complaints. OSHA issued 16 ergonomic hazard letters advising employers that they needed to make changes in their workplace to reduce hazards that could lead to injuries. (No citations have been issued.)

"It's important to remember that our focus when we do conduct inspections is on employers who are not acting in good faith to address musculoskeletal disorders," said Henshaw.