OSHA Promises More Partnerships

OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw says a significant piece of the agency's outreach efforts in the coming months will be the formation of partnerships with various industry and worker groups.

"We want to develop a working relationship with these groups with the sole purpose of improving workplace safety and health," says Henshaw. As many as 100 alliances are in the discussion stage, Henshaw revealed, and he expects to announce four in the next few weeks.

This week, federal OSHA announced a new alliance between the North Carolina Department of Labor and the American Furniture Manufacturers Association to promote voluntary ergonomics guidelines.

Henshaw congratulated both North Carolina OSHA and the association, noting the alliance is "designed to produce a voluntary guideline that will help furniture manufacturers reduce ergonomic hazards and injuries in their industry. OSHA is pleased to support the alliance and provide promotion and publication of the voluntary guideline."

He noted the alliance is unique because it is the first to bring federal and state government together with industry to develop voluntary ergonomic guidelines for a specific industry. It is also the first example of a state stepping forward with an industry group to develop a voluntary ergonomic guideline based on OSHA's four-pronged approach to reduce ergonomic injuries.

"North Carolina is a leader in workplace safety and health issues and endorses OSHA's four-pronged approach to ergonomics," said Hensahw. "Furniture manufacturers, their employees and their families throughout the country can benefit from the collective experience of the alliance participants."

He said the example set in North Carolina serves as "an outstanding model for other states interested in reducing ergonomic-related injuries."

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