Ergonomic hazards rule draws protest

InfoWorld |  Government

"OSHA's regulatory juggernaut has violated employers' rights to due process by failing to provide a clear standard regarding which workplace circumstances or conduct would meet the obligation to control significant risk," Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO, said in a statement. "OSHA's refusal to listen to reason as they rushed ahead with this ill-advised and illegal proposal is an example of irresponsible government at its worst."

The organizations claim U.S. businesses will have to spend billions of dollars to comply. Although OSHA acknowledges that the order could prove costly, businesses will save money in the long run by preventing MSDs, thereby regaining lost productivity and reducing the number of long-term disability cases.

Once an employee reports signs of an ergonomic-rellated injury, the employer will be required to determine whether the injury is a work-related "MSD incident" that requires medical treatment beyond simple first aid, if the employee should assigned to light duty or temporary removal from work, or if symptoms linger for seven or more consecutive days.

The standards are scheduled to take effect Jan. 16, but businesses will have until October to comply. The White House and Republican lawmakers fought so bitterly over the OSHA rule that it blocked final approval of a $350 million budget proposal last month.

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