Health Group Calls for Ergonomics Standard

The American Public Health Association reported it has joined AFL-CIO, members of Congress and other national organizations\r\nto call on Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to issue a new ergonomics standard.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) reported it has joined AFL-CIO, members of Congress and other national organizations to call on Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to issue a new ergonomics standard.

"It is abundantly obvious that we need an ergonomics standard, that there is scientific data supporting a standard and that Secretary Chao should waste no time in developing one that will protect America''s work force," said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, executive director of APHA. "We were dismayed at the repeal of OSHA''s standard earlier this year and remain committed to the development and implementation of a national ergonomics standard."

The scientific evidence behind reducing and eliminating workplace injuries is clear, APHA said, pointing to the Institute of Medicine''s recently released report on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace.

The report found a strong link between exposure to ergonomic hazards in the workplace and MSDs.

According to the report, 1 million people took time off from work in 1999 to recover from MSDs and the economic burden of MSDs is estimated to be $50 billion a year.

"The decision to repeal the standard by Congress in early March has eliminated the workplace protections that would have prevented hundreds of thousands of injuries each year," said Akhter.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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