Ergonomics done right.®
January 21st, 2011

OSHA Plans May Benefit The Ergonomics Process

Mercer/ORC-Networks published a summary of OSHA plans and activities on their website.  I found two of the actions/priorities will provide additional support to companies’ ergonomics processes.

First, the addition of recording MSDs on the OSHA 300 log.  The final rule is slated for February.  This has been a hotly debated change over the past year.  Some people argue that it is additional administrative work, others support collecting the information to better understand their exposures at work.  In Humantech’s  recent benchmarking study we learned that companies with successful ergonomic programs, attribute 11-64% of their recordable injuries and illnesses to poor ergonomic conditions.  In talking with companies struggling to improve workplace ergonomics, they attribute more (55-70%) to poor ergonomics.

Breaking out strain, sprain, and MSD injuries in the injury/illness log helps organizations better define their need to reduce the causes through improved ergonomics.  Companies who can accurately define their need are more successful getting the resources and management commitment for their ergonomics programs.  Leveraging the OSHA 300 log is one source of this company-specific information.

One of the planned priorities on OSHA’s agenda is Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2)  that could also support an effective ergonomics process.  I2P2 establishes a standard model for companies to develop and manage their safety management system.   This will enable safety mangers to  speak a common language and follow a process improvement to describe their system for managing safety.  We know that this process -based approach is a key element of successful ergonomics processes.

The benchmarking study, How to Achieve a World-Class Ergonomics Process: Benchmarking Results from Industry Leaders, is summarized on Humantech’s archived webinars page.