NSC Abandons Voluntary Ergonomics Standard

Two years after Congress rescinded OSHA's ergonomics standard, it is beginning to look as though a controversial voluntary ergonomics standard may never see the light of day either.

In an Oct. 29 letter to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the National Safety Council (NSC) formally surrendered its role as secretariat of the Z365 ergonomics committee.

The committee completed its work on a proposed final draft of the standard, but, according to its letter to ANSI, NSC received "extensive" appeals from several organizations, including the National Coalition on Ergonomics an industry group on the finished product. The ANSI appeals panel ruled on these appeals, and on Oct. 7, NSC received official notice of the ANSI decision.

In explaining its resignation as secretariat, NSC maintains the decision of the ANSI appeals panel would have placed on NSC "a number of additional administrative burdens which have significant financial and administrative consequences." The NSC has already spent $531,000 on the voluntary ergonomics standard, according to its letter of resignation.

It remains to be seen whether the members of the Z365 committee will be able to find a replacement for NSC. "If another standard developer wanted to pursue this, it could apply for accreditation," explained Anne Caldas, director of procedures and standards administration for ANSI. "Absent that we have no standard."

ANSI itself would have no role in seeking a new secretariat, she added.

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