The State of Michigan (USA) has been advancing a draft of an ergonomics standard for a number of years. Ergoweb has tracked and reported on it’s progress, publishing our most recent article this week, Michigan Regulatory Commission Advances Mandatory Ergonomics Standard.
I just received a copy of the Draft Standard, and am attaching it here for those who are interested.
Peter Budnick, PhD, CPE
There’s also an Appendix that goes with this draft standard, which I’ve attached below.
Peter Budnick, PhD, CPE
Thanks for putting the documents up on line Peter. It is good to see where other countries are evolving in their legislation re: health and safety. Victoria in Australia where I live has this document (see below) and a national standard that is based upon this document. It is interesting to see the use of the word "ergonomic" like this. It was also interesting to read in the second attachment that worker health is listed third after quality and productivity. The prioirties in the document are mixed between productivity, quality and health safety. In some cases the financial aspect is placed first as a deciding factor.
Thanks Glen, it’s great to see different approaches to this same issue.
By the way, since I started this topic, we’ve published another article on the Michigan proposed standard, this time detailing political efforts by a group of Senators to prohibit enacting an ergonomics standard: Michigan Senators Introduce Bill to Block Ergonomics Standard.
We’ll continue to monitor this, so keep an eye on our Ergonomics Today™ section for the latest news.
Peter Budnick, PhD, CPE
I’m not sure if you are aware that British Columbia has had ergonomic regulations in place since 1998. Technically they are called the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements and are part of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (British Columbia). WorkSafeBC prevention officers have been enforcing this requirement since 1998. More information on the Regulation can be found on the WorksafeBC website at http://www2.worksafebc.com/Topics/Ergonomics/Home.asp
I’ve attached a PDF of both the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements and the associated Ergonomic Guidelines.
Peter Goyert PT CCPE
You report that BC has had Ergonomics Requirements regulation since1998, Peter. Presumably you will by now have some estimates of their injury incidence and cost impact? What can you tell us?
There are a number of documents e.g. red meat
Automotive chemical manual handling
There a large number of other document that provide more specific solutions.
The challenge is the regulations etc that support this kind of document. Which I do not know enough about your specific regulations etc. If the emphais has been placed upon cost rather than reduction in injury. It may be very hard for a document written like this to get much traction given the US’s current financial environment?
The OHS laws/regulations need to interlink to get the appropriatte result, so it would be hard to come up with a direct comparison given the many variables.
Here is a short synopsis to better understand how Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSI) are approached in
In addition, a cross-regional Industry and Labour Services department works closely with industry associations on health and safety initiatives, co-ordinates development of WorkSafeBC publications, and helps put together high risk strategies with regional services staff. This department has specialist managers for a number of industry areas where musculoskeletal injury numbers are high, including Manufacturing, Health Care, Oil & Gas, Construction, Fishing, Forestry, and cross industry initiatives such as Small Business and Young Workers.
WorkSafeBC has three ergonomists focusing on MSI prevention. This can be through consultation, education or compliance activities. A Senior Ergonomist helps co-ordinate MSI activities and provides input into many strategies.
The Prevention Officer’s role with respect to MSI is three-fold. This includes inspection – enforcement of the OHS Regulation, education to joint committees, employer and worker groups, and consultation with employers on compliance with the regulation e.g. use of the risk identification and assessment tools, MSI Guidelines, web based ergonomic information etc.
MSI Prevention strategies are an integral part of our high risk strategies. For example, in the past, MSI objectives included:
– develop concise guidelines for regulatory application and enforcement;
– improve stakeholder awareness that soft tissue injuries are preventable;
– develop enhanced staff knowledge in dealing effectively with MSI;
– increase prevention activity in industries with large MSI contributions.
Generally, Prevention Officers offer some assistance in use of WorkSafeBC risk identification and assessment tools. These officers do not provide in depth ergonomic consultation but can refer the more complex problems to the Ergonomists for assistance.
WorkSafeBC provides resources such as worksheets, guidelines and other publications, as well as consulting with industry. We anticipate that, with time, attention and effort, all employers will become more fully engaged in their responsibilities for proactive and preventative application of the requirements of the regulation. There is an expectation that employers will become self resourced in this area.
From a compliance perspective we examine trailing indicators such as MSI injury rate, injury duration and costs. We evaluate the outcomes of MSI projects that we undertake in terms of distribution, usage and acceptance. We monitor usage of the various web-site links related to MSI as well as field activities such as inspections and consultations. From 1994 [at the time of the public hearings on Ergonomics and the introduction of the Ergonomic (MSI) Requirements in 1998] we have observed a decline in MSI injuries. This introduction of the Ergonomic (MSI) Requirement in 1998 has created an increased awareness of ergonomic issues in the workplace by both employers and WorkSafeBC. While we have not yet mined the data sufficiently to determine the relationship between the introduction of the regulation and the reduction of MSI, coincidentally or otherwise, MSI numbers continue to fall. MSI prevention is a very complex issue. Compliance with the regulation does not necessarily result in a reduced number of MSI. Conversely, MSI can be reduced without observed increased compliance with the OHS regulation. Anecdotally, the employers that have had some success in reducing injuries are those that are committed to this and are making efforts that exceed the minimum requirements of the OHS regulation.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any further questions on this topic.
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