AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS (ASSE) WORKING DRAFT

---DO NOT CITE OR QUOTE---
REWORKED FROM THE OSHA DRAFT ERGONOMIC PROGRAM STANDARD

ASSE Working Draft of a Counterproposal to the OSHA Proposed Ergonomics Program Standard

Subpart U - Ergonomics

1910.500 Does this standard cover me?

1910.501 What is the purpose of this standard?

1910.502 What is my basic obligation?

1910.503 Management leadership and employee participation

1910.504 Hazard identification and information

1910.505 Job hazard analysis and control

1910.506 Training

1910.507 Program evaluation

1910.508 What records must I keep?

1910.509 When must my program be in place?

1910.510 Where can I get more information?

1910.511 What are the key terms in this standard?

Working Draft of Appendix A (Non-Mandatory) - Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix B (Non-Mandatory) - Information on Recordable WMSDs under OSHA Recordkeeping Regulations (29 CFR 1904)

Appendix C (Non-Mandatory) - Information on Job Hazard Analyses

Appendix D (Non-Mandatory) - Information on Evaluating Ergonomic Programs

NOTE: The terms in this standard that are defined in 1910.512 are underlined the first time they appear in the regulatory text.

§ 1910.500DOES THIS STANDARD COVER ME?

(a) This standard is limited to workplaces in general industry. In these workplaces, this standard covers you if you have:

  1. Manufacturing operations; OR
  2. Manual handling operations;
  3. If WMSDs make-up more than 10% of a site’s recordable injuries/illnesses averaged over the last three years. For this standard, a WMSD is limited to one that meets these criteria:

    1. It is recordable on your OSHA 200 logs, or would be recordable if you were required to keep OSHA logs;AND
    2. It occurred in a job where the WMSD hazards present are reasonably likely to cause or contribute to the type of MSD reported; AND
    3. A significant part of the injured employee’s regular job duties involves exposure to these WMSD hazards (i.e., not incidental exposure).

(b) This standard does not cover maritime, construction or agricultural activities.

§ 1910.501WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STANDARD?

The purpose of this standard is to reduce the large number and severity of WMSDs employees have been experiencing. To accomplish this, you must set up an ergonomics program in your workplace to identify and control hazards that are reasonably likely to be causing or contributing to the WMSDs. The kind of program you need depends on the extent of the problem in your workplace. If the problems are limited, your program can be limited.

§ 1910.502WHAT IS MY BASIC OBLIGATION?

(a) What is my basic obligation under this standard?

You must set up an ergonomics program in your workplace to control WMSD hazards.

NOTE: You may set up an ergonomics program for all of the jobs in your workplace, but you only are required to set it up in manufacturing and manual handling operations, and in other jobs where there are WMSDs.

(b) What are the elements of an ergonomics program?

The basic elements of an ergonomics program are:

  1. Management leadership and employee participation;
  2. Hazard identification and information;
  3. Job hazard analysis and control;
  4. Training;
  5. Program evaluation and continuing improvement.

[c] In manufacturing and manual handling operations, when must I set up an ergonomics program?

To determine when you must set up each element of the ergonomics program in your manufacturing and manual handling operations, follow this table:

 

If…

You must set-up these elements in manufacturing and manual handling operations

  • It is after [insert effective date]
  • If WMSDs make-up more than 10% of a site’s recordable injuries/illnesses averaged over the last three years

OR:

  • Known hazards exist
  • Management Leadership and Employee Participation
  • Hazard Identification and Information
  • Job hazard analysis and hazard control
  • Training
  • Program Evaluation and ongoing improvement

NOTE: When a known WMSD hazard exists or WMSDs are reported in a manufacturing or manual handling job, this is called a "PROBLEM JOB."

(d) In other jobs in my workplace, when must I set up an ergonomics program?

You do not have to set up an ergonomics program in jobs other than manufacturing or manual handling until WMSDs make-up more than 10% of a site’s recordable injuries/illnesses averaged over the last three years. When this threshold is reached after [insert the effective date], you must set up all the elements of the ergonomics program for that job.

(e) What if I already have set up ergonomics program?

If you already have set up an ergonomics program, you may continue it, provided you can show that:

  1. Your existing program satisfies the basic obligation of each of the five program elements (Paragraph (a) of each program element); AND
  2. Any part of your program that differs from any of the rest of the requirements of this standard fulfills the intended purposes of each requirement; AND
  3. You have implemented and evaluated your program before [insert effective date]; AND
  4. Your program is eliminating or controlling WMSD hazards to the extent feasible.

§ 1910.503MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP AND EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION

(a) What is my basic obligation?

You must demonstrate management leadership of your ergonomics program. Employees (and their designated representative) must have ways to report problems, get responses and be involved in the program. You must not have policies or practices that discourage employees from making reports or recommendations or from participating in the program.

(b) What must I do to provide management leadership?

You must:

  1. Assign and communicate responsibilities for setting up and managing the ergonomics program so managers, supervisors, staff safety and health professionals, and employees know what is expected of them and how you will hold them accountable for meeting those responsibilities;
  2. Provide managers, supervisors, and staff safety and health professionals with the authority, resources, information and training necessary to meet their responsibilities;
  3. Examine your existing policies and practices to ensure they encourage reporting and do not discourage reporting;
  4. Identify at least one person to:

    1. Receive and respond promptly to reports about signs and symptoms of WMSDs, WMSD hazards and recommendations;
    2. Take action, where required, to correct identified problems; and

(5) Communicate with employees about the program and their concerns about WMSDs.

[c] What ways must employees have to participate in the ergonomics program?

Employees (and their designated representative) must have:

  1. A way to report signs and symptoms of WMSDs and WMSD hazards,
  2. Prompt responses to their reports and recommendations;
  3. Training
  4. Access to information about the ergonomics program and its effectiveness

§ 1910.504 HAZARD IDENTIFICATION AND INFORMATION.

(a) What is my basic obligation?

You must identify WMSDs and WMSD hazards in manufacturing operations, manual handling operations and if WMSDs make-up more than 10% of a site’s recordable injuries/illnesses averaged over the last three years. You must provide information about WMSDs and WMSD hazards to all employees in those jobs. You must conduct hazard identification and provide information periodically.

(b) What must I do to identify WMSDs and WMSD hazards?

You must:

(1) Set up a way for employees to report WMSD signs, symptoms and hazards, and to make suggestions about controlling them. When an employee reports signs or symptoms of a WMSD, you must check out the report to determine whether you must provide medical management; and (2) Review safety and health records you already keep to look for WMSDs and WMSD hazards.

[c] What information must I provide to employees?

You must provide this information to current and new employees in manufacturing operations, manual handling operations, and other jobs with WMSDs:

  1. Hazards that are reasonably likely to be causing or contributing to WMSDs; and
  2. How to recognize the signs and symptoms of WMSDs, and the importance of early reporting of signs and symptoms;

(3) How to report signs and symptoms of WMSDs and WMSD hazards, and make recommendations.

(d) What methods must I use to inform employees?

You may use any form of communication, including information sheets, videotapes, or classes. You must provide information in a way that employees are able to understand (e.g., giving them the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers).

§ 1910.505JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS AND CONTROL.

(a) What is my basic obligation?

You must analyze problem jobs. If there are WMSD hazards in those jobs, you must implement measures to eliminate or control the hazards to the extent feasible.

(b) What must I do to analyze a problem job?

You must:

(1) Include in the job hazard analysis each or a representative sample of:

    1. Employees in the problem job; and
    2. Employees who perform the same physical work activities but in another job. This is called a similar job. If employees in a similar job are exposed to the same WMSD hazards as employees in the problem job, the similar job also is a problem job. You must also conduct a job hazard analysis of a similar job to learn if the ergonomics program must include that job and those employees;

(2) Ask those employees:

    1. Whether they are experiencing signs or symptoms of WMSDs;
    2. Whether they are having difficulties performing the physical work activities of the job, and
    3. Which physical work activities they associate with the problem;

  1. Observe employees performing the job in order to identify job factors that need to be evaluated; and (4) Evaluate those job factors to determine which ones are reasonably likely to be causing or contributing to the problem.

NOTE: The purpose of job hazard analysis is to pinpoint the cause of the problem. If the cause is obvious, you may move directly to controlling the WMSD hazards without conducting all of the steps of job hazard analysis.

[c] Once I have identified the cause of the problem, what must I do to control it?

You must:

(1) Identify, evaluate and implement feasible control measures (interim and permanent) to control the WMSD hazards. This includes prioritizing the control of WMSD hazards, where necessary;

(2) Track your progress in controlling the WMSD hazards, particularly if you need to prioritize control of the hazards;

(3) Communicate results of the job hazard analysis to other areas in your workplace (e.g., procurement, human resources, maintenance, design, and engineering) whose assistance may be needed to successfully control the WMSD hazard; and

(4) Identify hazards when you change, design or purchase equipment, processes and facilities to prevent new problems from being brought into the workplace.

NOTE: Where solutions are obvious and you can eliminate the problem quickly, you may move directly to implementing controls without following all of the steps of the control process.

(d) What kind of controls must I use?

(1) Engineering controls, where feasible, are the preferred method for controlling WMSD hazards. Work practice and administrative controls also can be an important part of a successful ergonomics control plan. You may use any combination of these measures, as interim and permanent controls, that will control WMSD hazards.

(2) Personal protective equipment (PPE) may be used as an interim control, but it must not be used as a permanent control where other controls are feasible. Where PPE is used, you must provide it at no cost to employees.

(e) What if WMSDs are still occurring in a problem job even after I have implemented feasible permanent controls?

The report of a WMSD by itself is not a violation of this standard. If WMSDs are still occurring in a problem job after you have set up the ergonomics program and implemented the controls that are feasible, you are in compliance with this standard if you also do these steps as part of your ergonomics program:

  1. You promptly check out employee reports of signs and symptoms of WMSDs to determine whether you must provide medical management;
  2. You promptly identify and analyze the WMSD hazards, and develop a plan for controlling them;
  3. You track your progress in implementing the plan and measure your success in eliminating or reducing WMSDs further; and
  4. You continue to look for solutions for the problem job and implement feasible ones as soon as possible.

§ 1910.506 TRAINING.

(a) What is my basic obligation?

You must provide training about the ergonomics program and WMSD hazards periodically and at least every 3 years. You must provide training at no cost to employees.

(b) Who must I train?

You must provide training to at least the following persons:

  1. All employees in problem jobs, and all employees in similar jobs identified through a job hazard analysis;
  2. Their Supervisors
  3. All persons involved in setting up and managing the ergonomics program.

[c] In what subjects must I train these employees?

To determine what subjects training must cover, follow this table:

FOR…

You must provide training so they understand and know at least

Employees in Problem Jobs, similar jobs, and their supervisors

  • How to recognize WMSD signs and symptoms, and the importance of early reporting.
  • How to report WMSD signs, symptoms and hazards,
  • WMSD hazards in their jobs and the general measures they must follow to control WMSD hazards.
  • Job-specific controls and work practices that have been implemented in their jobs.
  • The ergonomics program and their role in it.
  • The requirements of this standard

Persons involved in setting up and managing the ergonomics program

  • The ergonomics program and their role in it.
  • How to identify and analyze WMSD hazards
  • How to identify, evaluate, and implement measures to control WMSD hazards
  • How to evaluate the effectiveness of ergonomics programs

 

(d) When must I train these employees?

To determine when employees must be trained, follow this table:

Employees in Problem Jobs, similar jobs, and their supervisors

  • When the program is first set up in their jobs.
  • When they are initially assigned to problem jobs.
  • After control measures are implemented in their jobs.
  • Periodically as needed (i.e., significant changes to the job, new WMSDs or WMSD hazards are identified in the job, unsafe work practices observed) and at least every 3 years.

Persons involved in setting up and managing the ergonomics program

  • When they are initially assigned to setting up and managing the ergonomics program.

Periodically as needed (i.e., program deficiencies revealed in evaluation, significant changes in ergonomics program) and at least every 3 years.

§ 1910.507PROGRAM EVALUATION.

(a) What is my basic obligation regarding program evaluation?

You must evaluate your ergonomics program and controls periodically, and at least every 3 years, to ensure that it is in compliance with this standard.

(b) What must I do to evaluate the ergonomics program?

You must set up the following procedure to evaluate the effectiveness of the ergonomics program and control measures:

  1. You must monitor program activities to ensure that all the elements of your ergonomics program are functioning;
  2. You must select effectiveness measures, both activity and outcome measures, and use them to evaluate the program and the controls to ensure that they are in compliance with this standard; and
  3. You must establish baseline measurements so you will have a starting point for measuring the effectiveness of the program and the controls.

[c] What must I do if the evaluation indicates my program is not controlling WMSD hazards?

You must correct the deficiencies in your program promptly.

§ 1910.508 What Records Must I Keep

(a) Do I have to keep records of the ergonomics program?

You must keep written records of the program if:

(1) You have more than one worksite or establishment in which this job is performed by employees; OR

  1. The job involves more than one level of supervision; OR
  2. The job involves shift work.

(b) Do I have to keep records if I have very few employees?

NO. If you do not have 10 or more full-time employees (including temporary and contingent employees) at any time during the preceding year, you are not required to keep written records of your ergonomics program. This section does not apply to you.

[3] What records of the ergonomics program must I keep and for how long?

To determine what records you must keep and how long you must keep them, follow this table:

You must keep these records

For at least this long

Employee reports and your responses

3 years

Results of job hazard analysis

Plans for controlling WMSD hazards

Evaluations of program and controls

3 years

or

until replaced by updated record

 

§ 1910.509 WHEN MUST MY PROGRAM BE IN PLACE?

(a) When does this standard become effective?

This standard becomes effective 60 days after [insert publication date of final rule].

  1. When do I have to be in compliance with this standard?

We are providing you with start-up time to set up your ergonomics program and implement controls. You must implement the requirements of this standard as soon as possible, but not later than the compliance start-up deadlines listed in this table:

  • Management leadership and employee participation
  • Hazard identification and information

[Insert 1 year after the effective date]

  • Job hazard analysis
  • Interim controls
  • Training

[Insert 2 years after the effective date]

  • Feasible permanent controls
  • Program evaluation
  • Process to address problem jobs
  • where WMSDs are still occurring even after controls are implemented

[Insert 3 years after the effective date]

[c] If I do not have a problem job until after part of the compliance start-up period has passed, when must I be in compliance with this standard?

If you do not have any problem jobs until after the start-up deadline has passed for implementing certain program requirements, you must implement those requirements as soon as possible but not later than the deadlines listed above or below, whichever is longer.

(d) If I do not have a problem job until after ALL of the compliance start-up deadlines have passed, how long do I have to set up an ergonomics program and implement controls?

If you do not have a problem job until after all the compliance start-up deadlines have passed, you must meet the following deadlines for addressing them:

 

For…

You must implement the requirements as soon as possible after the problem is identified, but not later than:

  • Management leadership and employee participation
  • Hazard identification and information

30 days

  • Job hazard analysis where there are WMSDs

60 days

  • Interim controls
  • Training

90 days

  • Feasible permanent controls
  • Program evaluation
  • Process to address jobs in which WMSDs and
  • WMSD hazards have not been eliminated

1 year

NOTE: If you have manufacturing or manual handling operations, you must have implemented management leadership and employee participation, and hazard identification and information no later than [insert 1 year after the effective date].

(e) Is there some point at which I can discontinue certain aspects of my program?

YES. However, as long as you have problem jobs, you must maintain all the elements of the ergonomics program in this standard. If you do not have a problem job for 3 years, you only have to continue the elements listed in this table:

If you

And, if WMSDs have not made-up more than 10% of a site’s recordable injuries/illnesses averaged over the last three years.

Have manufacturing and manual handling operations

  • Management leadership and employee participation.
  • Hazard identification and information.
  • Maintain implemented controls and training related to those controls.

Have other jobs with WMSDs

Maintain implemented controls and training related to those controls.

 

 

§ 1910.510WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

(a) Where can I get further information about this standard?

(1) Informational appendices follow this standard:

    1. Working Draft of Appendix A (Non-mandatory) -- Frequently asked questions;
    2. Appendix B(Non-mandatory) -- Information on recordable MSDs under OSHA recordkeeping regulations (29 CFR 1904);
    3. Appendix C (Non-mandatory) -- Information on conducting job hazard analyses;
    4. Appendix D (Non-mandatory)--Information on evaluating ergonomics programs and selecting effectiveness measures.

(2) You also can get information from the OSHA Website at http://www.osha.gov.

(b) Are these appendices mandatory?

NO. The material in the appendices to this standard is informational. It is not intended to create any additional obligations or detract from the requirements of this standard.

§ 1910.511WHAT ARE THE KEY TERMS IN THE STANDARD?

Administrative controls are procedures and methods, typically instituted by the employer, that significantly reduce daily exposure to WMSD hazards by altering the way in which work is performed. Examples of administrative controls for WMSD hazards include:

Employee Rotation Redesign of work methods

Job task enlargement Alternative tasks

Adjustment of work pace Rest breaks

(e.g., slower pace)

Exercise programs (e.g., stretching) are not prohibited, but they are not administrative controls under this standard.

Effectiveness measures are the indicators used to assess whether an ergonomics program and controls are successfully controlling WMSD hazards and reducing the number and severity of WMSDs. Effectiveness measures include both activity and outcome measures.

Activity measures are indicators used to measure interim accomplishments in building and maintaining an ergonomics program. These measures are used to assess the functioning of the various activities in your program (e.g., number of hazards identified, number of employees trained). Outcome measures are indicators used to quantitatively assess long-term success of the program and interventions that have been put into place (e.g., number of lost workdays, number of hazards controlled, severity of WMSDs).

Engineering controls are physical changes to jobs that control exposure to WMSD hazards. Engineering controls act on the source of the hazard and control employee exposure to the hazard without relying on the employee to take self-protective action or intervention. Examples of engineering controls for WMSD hazards include changing, modifying or redesigning the following:

***Workstations ***Equipment

***Tools ***Materials

***Facilities ***Processes

Ergonomics is the science of fitting jobs to people. Ergonomics encompasses the body of knowledge about physical abilities and limitations as well as other human characteristics that are relevant to job design. Ergonomic design is the application of this body of knowledge to the design of the workplace (i.e., work tasks, equipment, environment) for safe and efficient use by workers. Good ergonomic design makes the most efficient use of worker capabilities while ensuring that job demands do not exceed those capabilities.

Ergonomics program is a systematic process for anticipating, identifying, analyzing and controlling WMSD hazards.

A process is the activities, procedures, and practices that you set up to control WMSD hazards. Systematic means these actions are ongoing and conducted on some routine basis that is appropriate to the conditions of your workplace.

Job factors are workplace conditions and physical work activities that must be considered when conducting a job hazard analysis in order to determine whether WMSD hazards are present in a job. This standard covers the following job factors:

This standard covers these job factors

Including these components of job factors

Physical demands of the work tasks or job

  • Force
  • Repetition
  • Work Postures
  • Duration
  • Local contact stress

Workstation layout and spaceWork reaches

  • Work Reaches
  • Work Heights
  • Seating
  • Floor Surfaces
  • Contact Stress

Equipment used and objects handled

  • Size and Shape
  • Weight and weight distribution
  • Handles and grasp surfaces
  • Vibration

Work organization

  • Work recovery cycles
  • Work rate
  • Task variability

 

Known hazard means hazards in your workplace that you know are reasonbly likely to cause or contribute to a WMSD. The following are known hazards covered by this standard:

  • WMSD hazards identified in prior OSHA inspections.
  • WMSD hazards identified in self audits. WMSD hazards identified and communicated to you by HCPs.
  • Accepted WMSD workers’ compensation claims.

Manual handling operations are physical work activities meeting these criteria:

  1. They involve lifting/lowering, pushing/pulling, or carrying; AND
  2. They involve exertion of considerable force because the particular load is heavy OR the cumulative total of the loads during a workday is heavy (i.e., substantial loads); AND
  3. These manual handling work activities are a significant part of the employee’s regular job duties.

Manufacturing operations cover a range of jobs that are directly involved in producing durable and non-durable goods. Manufacturing production jobs involve working supervisors and all non-supervisory employees who engage in fabricating, processing, assembling, and other services closely associated with manufacturing production. In this standard, manufacturing operations are limited to those that meet these criteria:

  1. They are performed in manufacturing industries; AND
  2. They are production jobs performed by employees and their supervisors in those industries; AND
  3. The production work activities are a significant part of the employee’s regular job duties.

While each job must be considered on the basis of its actual duties, the following table lists job categories that typically fall inside and outside this definition:

Examples of Manufacturing Production Jobs

Examples of Jobs that typically are not manufacturing jobs

  • Assembly line jobs producing:

Products (durable and non-durable)

Subassemblies

Components and parts

  • Paced Assembly Jobs

(assembling and disassembling)

  • Piecework assembly jobs

(assembling and disassembling) and other time critical assembly jobs

  • Product inspection jobs

(e.g. Testers, weighers)

  • Meat, poultry, and fish cutting and packing
  • Bindery jobs
  • Machine Operation
  • Machine Loading/unloading
  • Apparel construction jobs
  • Food preparation assembly line workers
  • Commercial baking jobs
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Tire building
  • Warehouse jobs in manufacturing facilities
  • Rework specialists

Maintenance Personnel

  • Administrative personnel
  • Clerical staff Supervisors and managers who do not perform production job
  • Technical staff (e.g., engineering, product development)
  • Analysts and programmers
  • Sales and marketing
  • Buyers/procurement
  • Customer service employees
  • Mail room
  • Security guards
  • Cafeteria personnel
  • Grounds personnel (gardeners, grounds keepers)
  • Jobs in power plant in manufacturing facility
  • Janitors

 

NOTE: Some jobs that are not manufacturing production jobs may still be manual handling jobs under this standard.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries and disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal disks. Examples of MSDs include:

***Epicondylitis ***Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

***Synovitis ***Muscle strains

***Raynaud’s phenomenon ***Sciatica

***Tendinitis ***Rotator cuff tendinitis ***De Quervains’ disease ***Carpet layers knee ***Trigger finger ***Low back pain

No cost to employees means that training, medical management and other requirements of this standard are provided to employees free of charge and while they are "on the clock."

Periodically means that a process or activity, such as records review or training, is performed on a regular basis which is appropriate for the conditions in your workplace. Periodically also means that the process or activity is conducted as needed, such as when significant changes are made in your workplace. Return Personal protective equipment (PPE) are interim control devices worn or used while working to protect employees from exposure to WMSD hazards. In this standard, PPE includes items such as gloves and knee pads. Return Physical work activities are the physical demands, exertions or functions of the task or job.

Representative sampling is a strategy to adequately characterize exposure of a group of employees (i.e., employees in a problem job) by analyzing the exposure of a subset of that group rather than all members of the group. The employees selected for representative sampling analysis must be those who you reasonably believe to have the greatest exposure to WMSD hazards in the problem job, including each workshift, so you correctly characterize and do not underestimate the exposure of any employee in the problem job. Return Resources mean the provisions necessary to develop, implement and maintain an effective ergonomics program. Resources include monetary provisions (e.g., equipment to perform job hazard analysis, training materials, controls) as well as other provisions (e.g., time to conduct job hazard analysis or review safety and health records). Return Safety and health records are information generated at or for your workplace. Records include, for example, OSHA 200 logs, workers’ compensation claims, WMSD-related medical reports and infirmary logs, employee reports of WMSDs or WMSD hazards, and insurance or consultant reports prepared for your workplace.

Signs (of WMSDs) are objective physical findings that are the basis for an OSHA recordable MSD. Examples of signs of WMSDs include:

***Decreased range of motion ***Decreased grip strength

***Loss of function ***Deformity Swelling

***Cramping ***Redness/loss of color

Symptoms (of WMSDs) are physical indications that your employee may be developing an WMSD. Symptoms can vary in their severity depending on the amount of exposure your employee has had. Often symptoms appear gradually as muscle fatigue or pain at work that disappears during rest. Usually symptoms become more severe as exposure continues (e.g., tingling continues when your employee is at rest, numbness or pain makes it difficult to perform the job, and finally pain is so severe that the employee is unable to perform physical work activities).

Examples of symptoms WMSDS include:

***Numbness ***Burning

***Pain ***Tingling

We means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, or the Assistant Secretary’s designee.

Work practice controls are controls that reduce the likelihood of exposure to WMSD hazards through alteration of the manner in which a job or physical work activities are performed. Work practice controls also act on the source of the hazard. However, instead of physical changes to the workstation or equipment, the protection work practice controls provide is based upon the behavior of managers, supervisors and employees to follow proper work methods. Work practice controls include procedures for safe and proper work that are understood and followed by managers, supervisors and employees. Examples of work practice controls for WMSD hazards include:

  • Safe and proper work techniques and procedures that are understood and followed by managers, supervisors and employees.
  • Conditioning period for new or reassigned employees.
  • Training in the recognition of MSD hazards and work techniques that can reduce exposure or ease task demands and burdens.

Work-related means that the physical work activities or workplace conditions in the job are reasonably likely to be causing or contributing to a reported MSD. For this standard, an MSD is work-related if:

  1. WMSD hazards are present in a job where an MSD has been reported; AND
  2. The hazards are reasonably likely to cause or contribute to the type of MSD reported; AND
  3. A significant part of the employee’s regular job duties involves exposure to these WMSD hazards (i.e., not incidental exposure).

You means the employer as it is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.).

Working Draft of Appendix A

Frequently Asked Questions

The information in this appendix provides brief answers to some general questions that have been raised at various points during this rulemaking process. More extensive answers to these and other questions can be found in the preamble to the proposed standard, and in outreach and compliance assistance materials.

Scope

Q: If this standard covers me, must I set up an ergonomics program for my entire workplace?

A: NO. You may set up an ergonomics program for your entire workplace, but you are only required to set it up in the jobs that are covered by this standard: manufacturing production jobs, manual handling jobs, and if WMSDs make-up more than 10% of a site’s recordable injuries/illnesses averaged over the last three years.

Q: If this standard covers me, do I have to go out and analyze all my jobs right away?

A: NO. This standard does not require you to go out and immediately analyze all your jobs.

Basic obligation

Q: Must all employers have the same ergonomics program?

A: NO. OSHA recognizes that your program will vary depending on factors such as workplace size and the extent and nature of the problem. For example, you may be able to have a very limited program if your problems are limited, while programs in other workplaces may be more substantial because of the complexity of problems there. In addition, you may be able to have a simple program if the causes and solutions to your problems are obvious and the problems can be eliminated quickly. In these cases, the standard does not require your program to include all the steps of the job hazard analysis and control plan process. In workplaces where causes and solutions are less certain, the program will need to contain all the steps of job hazard analysis and control.

Q: Must I have a separate ergonomics program?

A: NO. Your ergonomics program may be a component of a broader program, such as a safety and health program or integrated management program. However, the ergonomics component must still meet all of the requirements of this standard.

Q: Will I be penalized if my existing program differs from the specific requirements of this standard?

A: NO. You will not be penalized if your existing program differs from the specific requirements in this standard, provided that you can show that:

  1. Your existing program satisfies the basic obligation of each of the six program elements (Paragraph (a) of each program element); AND
  2. Any part of your program that differs from any of the rest of the requirements of this standard fulfills the intended purposes of each requirement; AND
  3. You have implemented and evaluated your program before [insert effective date]; AND
  4. Your existing program is eliminating or controlling WMSD hazards to the extent feasible.

Management leadership and employee participation

Q: How must I meet the management leadership requirements of this standard, especially if I have a small business?

A: You may use any effective means to meet these obligations. If you do not have managers or supervisors or if you normally perform these types of duties yourself, you may carry out these obligations instead of delegating the responsibility to other persons.

Hazard identification and information

Q: Can I take action before a problem becomes an OSHA recordable?

A: YES. OSHA is aware that many of you use or would like to use a more preventive approach for identifying problems and determining when you need to take action. Many of you use employee surveys or reports of WMSD symptoms. Medical research and information from stakeholders indicate that the earlier an WMSD is addressed, the more likely the WMSD will be reversible.

Q: May I provide my employees with information that has been developed by others?

A: YES. You may use information others have developed in order to satisfy the requirements of this standard, provided that your employees are able to understand this information. For example, you may use information we will provide in compliance assistance materials or information developed by trade associations and other organizations.

Job hazard analysis and hazard control

Q: If I have a problem job in one workplace, must I conduct a job hazard analysis of similar jobs in my other establishments?

A: NO. You are not required to expand your job hazard analysis beyond this workplace to jobs and employees in your other establishments. Of course, if those establishments have their own problem jobs, you must set up an ergonomics program there.

Q: When is my job hazard analysis adequate?

A: We consider your job hazard analysis to be adequate if it covers the following job factors, where applicable:

Your job hazard analysis is adequate if it covers these jobs factors

Including these components of job factors

Physical demands of the work tasks or job

  • Force
  • Repetition
  • Work postures
  • Duration
  • Local contact stress

Workstation layout and space

  • Work reaches
  • Work heights
  • Seating
  • Floor surfaces
  • Contact stress

Equipment used and objects handled

  • Size and shape
  • Wight and weight distribution
  • Handles and grasp surfaces
  • Vibration

Environmental conditions

  • Cold and heat
  • Glare (as related to awkward postures)

Work organization

  • Work-recovery cycles
  • Work rate
  • Task variability

Q: What factors should I consider in prioritizing the control of WMSD hazards?

A: There are many different ways in which you can prioritize the control of WMSD hazards. While most of you address the worst problems first, you also may consider these factors in setting priorities:

  1. The number of employees affected;
  2. The severity of the WMSDs reported or identified;
  3. The availability of controls; and (4) The ability of interim measures, such as employee rotation, to protect employees while permanent solutions are developed and implemented.

Training

Q: Under the standard, may I use outside trainers or send employees to trainers?

A: YES. You are free to train employees yourself or use outside trainers. However, employees are trained, you must make sure that the training is effective; that is, you must make sure that employees know and understand the material that this standard requires they be trained in.

Consultation

Q: Under the standard, may I use outside consultants to provide assistance in complying with the standard?

A: YES. You are free to utilize the services of a qualified consultant, and in some situations it is highly encouraged if you do not have safety and health professionals on-staff. During your selection it is important to select a consultant who has the credentials to provide this type of technical insight. You may wish to consider utilizing the services of a consultant with an accredited certification, (e.g.: CSP/CIH), an appropriate license/registration (e.g. PE in safety, industrial engineering), or a consultant with a satisfactory combination of experience/education. This would also address the competencies your in-house staff should have when they address the standard.

Program evaluation

Q: Will I be allowed to select the measures I use for conducting my program evaluation or will you specify the effectiveness measures I must use?

A: You are free to select your own measures for evaluating the effectiveness of your program, provided that your effectiveness measures include both activity and outcome measures. Below are a list of activity and outcome measures stakeholders told us they use to measure the effectiveness of their ergonomics programs. This list is provided purely for guidance purposes. You are not required to use these measures:

 

Examples of Activity Measures

Examples of Outcome Measures

  • Plan to implement ergonomics program has been developed.
  • Number of employee reports and recommendations.
  • Average time between employee reports and your response
  • Length of time since the last review of safety and health records.
  • Number of hazards identified.
  • Number of employees who have received ergonomics information.
  • Number of jobs analyzed.
  • Number of jobs awaiting analysis.
  • Number of employees interviewed for job analyses and remaining to be interviewed.
  • Number of symptom surveys conducted.
  • Number of jobs controlled.
  • Number of job changes made.
  • Number of employees trained and waiting to be trained.
  • Number of worker hours devoted to the ergonomics program.
  • Annual expenditures on program and controls.

  • Number of OSHA recordable MSDs.
    • Reported symptoms of WMSDs.

    • WMSD incidence rates per job title.

    • Number of workers’ compensation claims.

    • Number of lost-workdays WMSDs.

    • Average lost workdays per WMSD.

    • Severity rate of WMSDs.

    • Symptom survey results.

    • Annual medical costs for WMSDs.

    • Average medical costs per WMSD.

    • Annual workers’ compensation costs.

    • Average workers’ compensation costs per WMSD Number of job transfer requests per job title.

    • Employee absentee rates per job title.

    • Annual employee turnover rates per job title.

    Q: Why must I use both activity and outcome measures when I evaluate the effectiveness of my ergonomics program?

    A: Activity and outcome measures are both important to adequately determine whether an ergonomics program is effective. Activity measures help identify whether the elements of your program are functioning as a systematic process. This type of measure lets you know whether "mid-course" corrections are needed to achieve targeted long-term goals and whether the program is set to respond quickly to problems that arise in the future. Activity measures also provide you with a way to measure interim or "in-process" accomplishments that you achieve on the path to building a program that is effective in eliminating or reducing WMSDs and WMSD hazards. This particularly important if it takes time before quantitative successes can be measured. Outcomes measures, on the other hand, are the most telling in terms of defining a successful program because they measure quantitative "bottom-line" results. They identify whether you are eliminating or reducing WMSDs, WMSD hazards and related costs.

         

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