In an online dialogue last week the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced five new policies on their agenda for 2011. The list included confined spaces in construction, general working conditions for shipyards, electric power transmission, hazard communications, and standards improvement, but nothing regarding ergonomics. OSHA also plans to publish final versions of several whistle-blower regulations.
The live question and answer session was hosted by the Department of Labor (DOL) to discuss several agencies’ regulatory agendas, most of which followed the Secretary of Labor’s strategy of “plan, prevent, protect.” According to OSHA Director David Michaels, this strategy explains the lacking ergonomic regulations.
“OSHA‘s proposed regulatory initiative, the Injury and Illness Prevention Program proposal, will help employers to set up a process to ‘find and fix’ workplace hazards,” said Michaels.
While OSHA is confident in their prevention program, others expect a significant amount of resistance from business.
“[The Injury and Illness Prevention Program] has been characterized by business types as ‘backdoor ergonomics,’” explained Dave LeGrande, the Communications Workers’ safety and health director. “They’re crazed about it.”
As of now the Injury Illness Prevention Program is expected to be released later this year, but the program has already experienced delays.