On Monday, OSHA released its proposed ergonomics program standard which is expected to spare more than 300,000 workers from painful, potentially and disabling injuries. The proposal has brought strong reaction from industry, labor and health and safety communities.
Groups such as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) are applauding the concept of government ergonomics standards.
ACOEM has been encouraging OSHA to move forward with the rulemaking process all along and supports the use of an ergonomics program which includes medical management to promote primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. ACOEM said it looks forward to the adoption of a standard that encourages an accurate assessment of the workplace and an accurate diagnosis of potential musculoskeletal disorders to protect the health of America's workforce.
Although it has not yet reviewed the ergonomics standards proposed by OSHA, ACA believes this first step is a potential victory for workers and the nation's health care system.
"Every day, doctors of chiropractic treat patients who are suffering from the effects of their poorly-designed work stations," said Dr. Scott Bautch, president of ACA's Council on Occupational Health. "These often painful and disabling injuries could be avoided by the recognition of ergonomics issues in the workplace and the implementation of standards dealing with this national epidemic."
Repetitive motion injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, especially as more and more people spend long hours virtually immobilized in front of computer screens, said Bautch. According to recent estimates, more than 75 million Americans spend some time using a computer every day for both work and recreation.