More evidence of the need for an ergonomic standard.
Am J Ind Med 2004 Apr; 45(4):329-337
BACKGROUND: In 1999, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed regulations designed to reduce work related inquiries by limiting worker exposure to "ergonomic risk factors." Congress subsequently overturned the regulations. We provide additional evidence on earnings losses attributable to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and thus on the need for an ergonomic standard. METHODS: Regression techniques are used to analyze data from a survey of injured workers that has been matched to employer-reported earnings data covering pre- and post-injury periods, and to workers' compensation claims records. RESULTS: MSDs lead to large and persistent earnings losses. Cost estimates used by OSHA to justify the 1999 EPS are corroborated. Losses are greatest among workers who file workers compensation claims, but nonclaimants also have losses. CONCLUSIONS: Earnings losses and lost productivity associated with work-related MSDs are substantial and an ergonomic standard could be cost effective.
Ergonomics; Standards; Regulations; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Worker-health; Employee-exposure; Repetitive-work; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Risk-factors; Sociological-factors; Lost-work-days; Health-surveys; Information-processing; Human-factors-engineering;
Author Keywords: ergonomics; workers' compensation; earnings losses; ergonomic standard; musculoskeletal disorder
Jeff Biddle, Department of Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Michigan State University, Department of Medicine, East Lansing, Michigan