OSHA has scheduled a meeting for stakeholders on Nov. 18 to discuss the agency's draft ergonomics guidelines for nursing homes. The meeting is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Concord A&B Room of the Hyatt Dulles Hotel, 2300 Dulles Corner Blvd, Herndon, Va., 20171.
"This is an important phase in our effort to develop guidelines that will make a real difference in reducing ergonomic hazards in nursing homes," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "The stakeholder meeting is an opportunity to continue the dialogue with those who are most affected. We look forward to discussing comments, sharing additional information, and receiving suggestions on how to improve the guidelines."
Representatives from the nursing home and insurance industries, trade associations and labor organizations are registered to participate in the meeting. OSHA's comprehensive plan to reduce ergonomic injuries, announced in April, 2002, involves a combination of specific guidelines, enforcement measures, outreach and research.
OSHA says that guidelines, which target industries and tasks where musculoskeletal disorders are a problem, will offer employers and workers the flexibility they need to implement solutions that will be most effective and will protect workers from ergonomic hazards. The guidelines are intended to provide practical solutions for reducing ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses. They will not be used for enforcement purposes.
Critics point out that the ergonomic guidelines are just that - guidelines - and can and will be ignored by some of the worst worker safety and health offenders in the industry.