OSHA Will Issue Ergonomics Citations Under General Duty Clause

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Administrator David Michaels April 7 said during a live web chat that ergonomics hazards will be enforced under OSHA’s general duty clause.  The web chat was part of an OSHA outreach effort to discuss its strategic plan, which is supposed to take effect Sept. 30 and be in place until October 2016.  

“OSHA’s field staff will be looking for ergonomics hazards in their inspections, and we will be providing them with the support and backup they need to enforce under the general duty clause,” Michaels said. 

The announcement comes on the heels of an OSHA proposed rule that would revise Form 300 to include an additional reporting column for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).  Despite concerns expressed by ABC and other organizations, OSHA insisted until recently that the proposed rule was not a first step to ergonomics enforcement. 

In addition to ergonomics hazards, the web chat also addressed OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which received a $3 million funding cut under the fiscal year 2011 budget. Deputy OSHA Administrator Jordan Barab said the agency is considering a fee-based system to fund VPP.  

The web chat also focused on OSHA’s rulemaking process and permissible exposure limits, both of which OSHA says it plans to reassess.