OSHA Quick-Fix


Working Draft of a Proposed Ergonomic Program Standards of 1999

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing an ergonomics program standard to address the significant risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) confronting employees in various jobs in general industry workplaces. General industry employers covered by the standard would be required to establish an ergonomics program containing some or all of the elements typical of successful ergonomics programs: management leadership and employee participation, job hazard analysis and control, hazard information and reporting, training, MSD management, and program evaluation, depending on the types of jobs in their workplace and whether a musculoskeletal disorder covered by the standard has occurred. The proposed standard would require all general industry employers whose employees perform manufacturing or manual handling jobs to implement a basic ergonomics program in those jobs. The basic program includes the following elements: management leadership and employee participation, and hazard information and reporting. If an employee in a manufacturing or manual handling job experiences an OSHA-recordable MSD that is additionally determined by the employer to be covered by the proposed standard, the employer would be required to implement the full ergonomics program for that job and all other jobs in the establishment involving the same physical work activities. The full program includes, in addition to the elements in the basic program, a hazard analysis of the job; the implementation of engineering, work practice, or administrative controls to eliminate or substantially reduce the hazards identified in that job; training the employees in that job and their supervisors; and the provision of MSD management, including, where appropriate, temporary work restrictions and access to a health care provider or other professional if a covered MSD occurs. General industry employers whose employees work in jobs other than manual handling or manufacturing and experience an MSD that is determined by the employer to be covered by the standard would also be required by the proposed rule to implement an ergonomics program for those jobs.

The proposed standard would affect approximately 1.9 million employers and 27.3 million employees in general industry workplaces, and employers in these workplaces would be required in the first year after promulgation of the standard to control approximately 7.7 million jobs with the potential to cause or contribute to covered MSDs. OSHA estimates that the proposed standard would prevent about 3 million work-related MSDs over the next 10 years, have annual benefits of approximately $9.1 billion, and impose annual compliance costs of approximately $900 per covered establishment and annual costs of $150 per problem job fixed.

Part of the standard required ergonomic interventions.  Although the standard was not passed into law, the standard does provide for reasonable intervention pathways for the employer.  Using this pathway approach, CtdMAP developed the "OSHA Quick Fix" system.