OSHA Solicits Comments on Ergo Proposal For Postal Service,Railroads

OSHA will hold an informal public hearing in July on the\r\neconomic impact of its proposed ergonomics standard on state and\r\nlocal governments, the U.S. Postal Service and railroads.

OSHA will hold an informal public hearing on July 7, 2000, on the economic impact of its proposed ergonomics standard on state and local governments, the U.S. Postal Service and railroads.

Public comments on these issues are due no later than June 22, 2000.

While OSHA''s ergonomics proposal addresses these workers, the original economic impact statement did not include these costs.

Although OSHA does not cover state and local government workers, states that run their own OSHA programs do and would cover workers within their jurisdictions.

The supplemental economic analysis concludes that the ergonomics proposal would affect another 8.7 million workers in state and local government at more than 165,000 sites.

OSHA estimates these workers experience about 175,000 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) each year. Implementation of the proposal would prevent an average of more than 47,000 injuries per year.

OSHA estimates more than 900,000 postal workers are employed at nearly 34,000 sites and experience nearly 30,000 MSDs each year. The agency said about 9,400 injuries to postal workers could be prevented under the proposed standard.

The analysis identifies more than 225,000 railroad employees at some 4,800 railroad establishments with a total of 1,250 MSDs annually. Nearly 200 injuries would be avoided each year under the proposal.

OSHA estimates that adding the three groups to its ergonomics proposal would raise the total net costs by nearly $420 million per year while the annual benefits would increase by $1 billion annually.

The public hearing on the economic impact of the ergonomics proposal on these groups will take place July 7, beginning at 9 a.m., in the auditorium of the Francis Perkins Building in Washington, D.C.

Those who wish to appear at the informal public hearing or submit written comments should contact OSHA for more information.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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