Although OSHA’s standard on Ergonomics was rescinded in 2001 and legislation now prohibits OSHA from promulgating a similar standard, the agency has shown a recent trend in citing ergonomic hazards under their “General Duty Clause”. In 2021, OSHA issued $27,306 of proposed fines to Seaboard Foods for ergonomic hazards. Then, late last year, OSHA issued $46,875 of proposed fines to Amazon for ergonomic hazards.
The citations to Seaboard Foods were caused by workers being required to perform highly repetitive tasks without any precautions in place to prevent injury/illness. The citations to Amazon were caused by workers being required to lift heavy objects, maintain awkward posture, and perform repetitive tasks for prolonged periods of time. OSHA expects companies who have ergonomic risks to have a program implemented that involves the following:
- Management Support
- Employee Involvement
- Ergonomic Training
- Risk Assessment
- Implementation of Controls
- Reporting Procedures
- Program Evaluation
While this recent trend should add some motivation for companies to establish and maintain an effective Ergonomic program, it’s not the biggest motivator. The biggest motivator is that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ergonomic injuries/illnesses account for approximately 1/3 of all work comp claims. Not to mention the fact that these types of injuries can leave our valuable employees debilitated and result in substantial lost time (which also means lost production).
Let us know if you need help creating, implementing and/or maintaining an effective Ergonomics Program. We have a lot of experience with this!