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OSHA Publishes Final Ergonomics Standard.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its final ergonomics standard in November despite severe opposition from many different trade associations and medical organizations.

According to the Printing Industries of America (PIA), the standard is estimated to cost as much as $10,000 to $200,000 per facility to make the moderated changes to equipment and plants. Wendy Lechner, PIA's senior director of federal employment policy, said, the final rule "does little to resolve the fears of graphic arts employers."

George Fuchs, environmental affairs manager at the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), said "the new ergonomics standard will place a significant and generally unnecessary burden on US ink manufacturers. Compliance with the new requirements will most likely require widespread, costly re-engineering of many unit operations within the industry. The costs associated with compliance program development, maintenance and employee training will also be very significant.

"These issues are especially troublesome in that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are not a significant source of workplace injuries within the ink manufacturing industry," added Mr. Fuchs.

Gary Reniker, corporate director of safety, INX International, said he was not surprised to see the standard passed. "This standard is going to cost money and take a lot of time to develop if you have more than two MSDs in your plant within 18 months," said Mr. Reniker. "Large ink manufacturers will he impacted much harder, especially with the training requirements for the employees."

Now that there is an ergonomics standard, how do ink manufacturers insure their compliance? A downloadable version of the final ergonomics standard is available at and

"The only thing employers are required to do initially is to provide basic information to their employees about common MSDs and their signs and symptoms," said Mr. Reniker. "OSHA has developed information sheets (Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.900: What You Need To Know about Musculoskeletal Disorders) that employers can simply' distribute to employers and post in their workplace within 11 months (October 15, 2001) of the standard's effective date. Employers are not required to take any other action until an MSD incident is reported."

Mr. Reniker said INX's insurance company will conduct an ergonomics assessment survery at one of its facilities during the first quarter.
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Author:Hess, Jenn
Publication:Ink World
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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