Builders Help Defeat Consensus Ergonomics Standard
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A10 committee in April reversed its approval of a consensus standard on ergonomics in construction that would require employers to assess the ergonomic risks of work site tasks, identify and implement solutions for those presenting significant risk and evaluate the outcome.
NAHB was one of 23 committee members rejecting the standard, which would have required affirmative votes by at least two-thirds of the committee members voting in order to pass.
Among objections voiced to the so-called “voluntary” standard:
- The standard would impose new costs on contractors, while its benefits would be uncertain.
- It would expose companies to lawsuits and possible OSHA citations under the general duty clause.
- Sprain and strain injuries can be difficult to substantiate and can be faked by employees to get time off with compensation
- There is a lack of consensus among the medical and scientific communities as to the causes of, and remedies for, "ergonomic" injuries.
The ANSI A10 ergonomics subcommittee will meet again in July to consider if there are any changes to the proposed standard that might gain the three votes that are needed for its passage.
If changes are made, the full committee could vote on the measure again in August or September.
For more information, e-mail Rob Matuga at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8507.
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