Photos of the 2008 Agreement Signing
A key Alliance target is the reduction of workplace ergonomic injuries through education, sharing best practices and solutions, and accessing practitioners' expertise. Ergo programs aim to reduce workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), often caused by repetitive motion. MSDs are one of the largest occupational safety and health problems.
A member-driven Ergo Task Force of leading ergonomics practitioners and researchers has been established to lead these efforts. [This link goes to the following - ASSE Ergo Task Force Members are Mark Hansen of Houston, Texas; Lawrence Schulze of the University of Houston; Phil Jacobs of St. Paul, Minnesota; Jim Vick of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Marsie De Oliviera of Austin, Texas]
The Task Force's first goal has been met, which is to compile a leading resource of web-based ergo resources. The intent is that the Ergo Resources Project will become the first place sh+e professionals, employers and employees go in search of ergo solutions.
For its second project, the Task Force is asking ASSE members for assistance in its second initiative, which is to collect information on how to measure and demonstrate the value of ergonomics in the workplace. By clicking on the link, you can see the kinds of information on cost justification and value analysis for ergonomic improvement efforts that the Task Force is seeking.
Voluntary Protection Programs Participants Association (VPPPA)
Design for Construction Safety -- ASSE member John Mrozczyk has been a volunteer participant representing ASSE in OSHA's cooperative efforts to advance design for safety in the construction industry. The group made a presentation on the project at the 2006 PDC, which was repeated at the VPPA's August 2006 meeting. Click here to see the presentation.
ASSE and OSHA are also working together to advance sh+e professionalism, both by building ways to encourage OSHA staff to taking advantage of professional sh+e certifications and educational opportunities and by involving ASSE members in OSHA ergonomics and other activities, like the development of OSHA e-tools.
Youth Worker Safety
ASSE and OSHA are working together to advance awareness of safety issues for youth workers, a growing concern. ASSE's 'Workplace Safety Guide for New Workers' pamphlet of safety tips is available for free at 847-699-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. OSHA has made available youth safety information at http://youthrules.dol.gov/, a new web site for teen workplace health and safety information for young workers, parents, employers and educators.
ASSE Chapter Alliances with OSHA
ASSE Chapter Alliance Agreements...Click Here
ASSE chapters have taken the initiative to establish their own alliances with OSHA independent of the national ASSE organization. Some of these alliances are new endeavors. Others reflect long-standing relationships with OSHA offices that have already fostered better workplace safety and health overall, improved understanding and communications between OSHA staff and the member sh+e professionals with whom they interact, and professionalism. ASSE's members and chapters are applauded for their individual efforts to advance safety and health in this cooperative way.
ASSE Guidelines for Establishing Chapter/State Alliances or Partnerships
A new endeavor among ASSE chapters or a state's chapters is the development of alliances and partnerships with OSHA regional offices, other federal agency subdivisions or related organizations. This follows ASSE's signing of an alliance on ergonomics with OSHA in December 2002. While these agreements can be positive relationship-building tools, certain concerns must be addressed in the development of such agreements:
- All agreements should be shared with ASSE before adoption. ASSE contact is Dave Heidorn, Manager of Government Affairs at email@example.com. No time commitments for completion should be made before hearing back from ASSE. ASSE will give advice on an agreement, not approve it.
- National ASSE cannot be a party to these agreements and language must be included that makes it clear national ASSE is not a party and is not responsible for any obligations under the agreement. Also, any language that might imply national ASSE's involvement - such as naming ASSE alone without chapter name(s) - cannot be in the document. Individual ASSE chapters must be named.
- Chapter officers must give full consideration to liability concerns. Depending on individual state law and the events that occur under an agreement, personal liability to chapter officers could result from activities that harm people. Steps should be taken to guard against this possibility. Chapters are advised to incorporate, which provides officers some protections, depending again on individual state law. Also, activities under the agreement must not include members or chapters providing individual services to commercial entities or individuals unless the chapter is incorporated and the chapter has liability insurance in effect to cover potential risks.
- To help guard against liability concerns, an agreement should result in activities that are general in nature - information sharing, meetings, mentoring of OSHA staff, and outreach to the public and the business community, for example. As stated above, ASSE members cannot give specific advice on how to fix workplace problems. Such activities are professional in nature and, if badly given, could result in injuries for which a chapter and even its officers could be financially liable. ASSE and its chapters are in the business of building relationships that benefit its members, not in fixing individual workplace problems or volunteering to train others to fix workplace problems.
- The more a chapter wants to accomplish with an agreement, the more difficult it will be to develop and manage the agreement. The value of an agreement that simply helps create a better atmosphere to encourage cooperation and involvement between a chapter's members and OSHA and increased professionalism among OSHA staff should not be underestimated. Any complex plans or specific performance objectives will have to be fulfilled by volunteers who very well may find it difficult to follow through due to other professional and family responsibilities when time comes to do so.