"This document was published prior to the publication of OSHA's
final rule on Ergonomics Program (29 CFR 1910.900, November 14,
2000), and therefore does not necessarily address or reflect the
provisions set forth in the final standard."
Trade News Release
Wednesday, July 21, 1999
PHONE: (202) 693-1999
In Speech to National Association of
OSHA HEAD SEEKS SUPPORT FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAMS AND
Play a productive, not a destructive, role in the ergonomics
standard-setting process, OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress
today told the National Association of Manufacturers.
Jeffress assured NAM members that OSHA regulations need not be a
win-lose proposition. They can be win-win, benefitting both business
and workers, because productivity and profits go up as injuries go
down, Jeffress said.
He stressed the importance of a systematic approach to
occupational safety and health, noting that only 30 percent of
employers have established safety and health programs and less than
half of U.S. workers in most industries are covered by these
Jeffress noted the irony of NAM's opposition to a rule OSHA is
developing that would require employers to set up safety and health
programs. "Many of your member companies have demonstrated the value
of safety and health programs. I challenge you as an organization to
change your tune....Let's take what the best of American business is
doing and spread it to the rest of business."
Likewise, the OSHA director called on NAM to "adopt a more
reasonable position on ergonomics....You put the principles into
practice but preach against the proposed regulation. In fact, you
don't even want a proposal to reach a public forum for debate."
Pointing out that "More than one-third of all serious
occupational injuries and illnesses stem from overexertion or
repetition," Jeffress said these problems hurt more than "600,000
workers each year." Musculoskeletal disorders "cost businesses $15
to $20 billion annually in workers' comp costs alone," he said.
Medical and scientific organizations supporting OSHA's plan to
move forward with an ergonomics standard, according to Jeffress,
include the American College of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American
Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the American Occupational
Therapy Association, the American Nurses Association, the American
Public Health Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers,
the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and the Human Factors
and Ergonomics Society.
Jeffress concluded by declaring his willingness to search for
common ground with NAM to develop coordinated approaches to
improving workplace safety and health.
The news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov/. The full text
of the speech as prepared for delivery is also available on the
website. Information on this news release will be made available to
sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone:
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