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OSHA issues new rules regarding the use of ergonomic tools in the workplace.

*November 2000

Workers who spend their day typing on a computer or repeatedly lifting heavy boxes are among the more than 100 million Americans to receive new protections from job-related injuries under standards being issued by the Clinton administration.

Organized labor had pushed for the regulations, which could force companies to alter work stations, redesign facilities or change tools once employees are found to suffer work-related injuries.

"Employers already have begun putting ergonomic programs in place," Charles Jeffress, head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said in an interview. "By adding the impetus of a standard, we think we can reach out and protect more workers than are currently covered."

If, however, a worker reports symptoms of a musculoskeletal disorder -- such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and tendinitis -- the employer must determine whether that problem is connected to the job. If so, the worker is entitled to medical care and time off with pay. The employer must then examine more broadly if that job exposes workers to risks and take steps to reduce the hazards.

OSHA hopes the standards will prevent 460,000 workers from getting hurt on the job each year. It says 1.8 million workers have musculoskeletal injuries related to ergonomic factors, and 600,000 people miss some work because of them annually.

  • Repeating the same motions every few seconds.
  • Using a keyboard or mouse for more than four hours a day.
  • Repeatedly working with the hands above the head for more than two hours a day.

The employers then would have to take steps to reduce these hazards.

Do you need ergonomic tools for your your workplace? If you do need to outfit your business with new ergonomically designed tools, the you should see Proto Tool Company. We are leaders in the design and building of ergonomic tools for the workplace. Contact us today and we'll help to create an ergonomically friendly work environment that meets all of the new OSHA standards.

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Portions of this article from an AP newswire