Ergonomics Proposal Hearings to Begin April 24

The public hearing on OSHA's proposed ergonomics standard will run from April 24 to May 3, in Portland, Ore.

The public hearing on OSHA's proposed ergonomics standard will run from April 24 to May 3, 2000, in Portland, Ore., the agency announced yesterday.

"Protecting workers against painful and potentially disabling musculoskeletal disorders is OSHA's top priority," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "Holding the public hearing in three locations will enable us to get valuable feedback on our proposal from participants across the country."

The Portland hearing continues the informal public hearing, which will begin March 13 in Washington, D.C., and continue April 11 in Chicago.

The Chicago portion of the hearing will take place in the James R. Thompson Center Assembly Hall at 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago, Ill.

The April 24 session in Portland will take place in Courtroom 16 in the Mark Hatfield Federal Court House at 1000 Southwest 3rd Ave., Portland, Ore.

It will begin daily at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.

Jeffress noted that American workers suffer more than 1.8 million injuries related to overexertion or repetitive motion each year, including approximately 600,000 injuries serious enough to require time away from work for recovery.

Musculoskeletal disorders account for one-third of all lost-time injuries in U.S. workplaces.

The proposed OSHA standard would cover 27 million workers and prevent an average of 300,000 injuries each year, saving the U.S. economy $9 billion annually, according to OSHA.

Hearing participants were required to notify the agency of their intent to testify by Jan. 24, 2000, if they wanted more than 10 minutes for their testimony.

Last month, OSHA extended the public comment period on the ergonomics proposal for 30 days to March 2.

OSHA published its ergonomics proposal in the Nov. 23 1999, Federal Register.

Copies of the regulatory text, as well as the preamble and other supporting materials, are available on the agency's Web site at www.osha.gov under "Ergonomics."

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