American Society of Safety Engineers

 

Position Statement

on

Ergonomics

Adopted May 1997
Updated June 2005

Ergonomics is a national issue that affects the safety profession and members of ASSE. The Society believes that efficient/effective ergonomic systems benefit the American private sector. Eliminating ergonomic hazards increases productivity, quality, profits, and the country's ability to compete on a global level. To these ends, the American Society of Safety Engineers has taken the following position:

The Society believes there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to ergonomics. Control measures should be designed to eliminate ergonomic stresses specific to the results of the ergonomic evaluation and; provide for effective follow-up mechanisms. Safety and health professionals, ergonomists, engineers, and other trained specialists can provide valuable assistance in various aspects of the improvement process.

Efficient/effective systems are more successful when there is a partnership between management and employees. Successful ergonomic systems incorporate employee participation and results in discussion across all levels and directions of an organization.

The Society supports the use of voluntary national consensus standards when appropriate, and is currently a member of the Z365 Standards Committee, the American National Standard addressing cumulative trauma disorders. The Society recommends reviewing the standard if there will be public sector policy making addressing ergonomics.

Research should continue in both the public and private sectors. Public sector agencies, such as the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), should continue researching ergonomic related issues and identifying sound hazard control mechanisms.

If research and data justifies the need for a mandatory federal standard, the Society's position is that the standard should:

  1. Be performance based and not use a one-size-fits-all approach to ergonomics.
  2. Require an ergonomic evaluation and that the evaluation be performed by a person competent in ergonomic related issues.  Emphasis should be placed on improvement versus overly detailed specifications. Safety and health professionals, ergonomists, engineers, and other trained specialists can provide valuable assistance in the evaluation process.
  3. Be created through private/public sector partnership, such as the negotiated rulemaking process.

ASSE Position Statement on Ergonomics
Approved 5/9/97 by the ASSE Board of Directors

Updated 6/11/05 by ASSE Government Affairs Committee