ISHNinterviewed OSHA chief John Henshaw in his Washington office on October 18th. Here's how he responded to the following question: "Will ergonomic guidelines work? Some people say guidelines will not be a strong enough incentive for smaller companies less committed to safety. Your comments?"

Henshaw: "Guidelines are the only way to go (because) ergonomics is so complex, so varied in respect to the conditions in plants, the solutions are different, even the evaluation tools are different as to whether there is a risk or not. Plus, this agency has been looking at how to address ergonomics for the last 10-15 years. And look where we're at today. We still haven't found a standard. . . So guidelines are the only way to get it done, at least at this juncture. Now what happens in the future, somewhere down the road, who knows?

"One of the things I hated about some of the OSHA standards in the past was that they forced me to do things that didn't add value. I had to spend a lot of time fighting for the money I got, and I hated to waste it. So this is the time that business is going to have the ability to find its own solutions to its own problems, which is their obligation."