Here we go again: Labor Dept. forums rekindle ergo debate
Saying "there’s no education in the second kick of a mule," Chao cautioned against pursuing another expansive standard similar to the one rejected earlier this year by Congress.
The AFL-CIO is holding rallies at each meeting site protesting what it calls "the Sham DOL Forums" that it claims are stacked in favor of big business. The unions' message: Issue a new ergo safety standard now.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association called for a new standard during its testimony at the first forum in Arlington, Va. AIHA urges that:
- Credit be given to those organizations with pre-existing programs that effectively address work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
- MSDs should not be used as the sole trigger for implementation of a standard.
- Incidence rates should not be used as a trigger for inspections.
The American Society of Safety Engineers recommended that if an ergonomic standard is developed it should:
- Be performance based and not use a one-size-fits-all approach to ergonomics.
- Require an ergonomic evaluation and be performed by a person competent in ergonomic-related issues.
- Have a trigger mechanism that does not allow an incident to take place before eliminating hazards.
- Place emphasis on improvement versus overly detailed specifications.
- Use private/public sector partnerships, such as the negotiated rulemaking process, or the multiple stakeholders input process used for metalworking fluids or the proposed silica rulemaking.