The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued what amounts to a test balloon for its ergonomics standards.
Although its formal proposal won’t be out until September the agency has published a working draft on its web site ( OSHA said it will spend the next few months assessing the impact of its recommendations on small businesses.
New rules, designed to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders, would apply to all manufacturing and manual handling operations. Mandated programs would have to include management leadership, employee participation, hazard identification and information, job analysis and control, training and medical management.
In trucking, jobs included in the rules would likely include mechanics, dock workers, and truck drivers – particularly those who do a lot of lifting. The cost to the industry could be as much as $6 billion a year.