AAI Says OSHA Taking Correct Approach on Ergonomics

April 9, 2002

The Alliance of American Insurers has voiced its support for the broad outline of the Bush Administration’s ergonomics program announced in the last week. Voluntary guidelines and targeted enforcement actions have long been supported by the Alliance and its member companies.

“American workers will be best served by an approach which stresses results in the workplace—rather than regulations and reports,” David Farmer, Alliance senior vice president of federal affairs, commented. “Insurers and their business partners have long been active in improving workplace safety, including ergonomics. We believe, given the significant uncertainties surrounding ergonomics, that OSHA is correctly placing the emphasis on tools that will make a tangible difference to peoples’ lives.

“Unachievable standards, overarching intrusion into state worker compensation programs, and never-ending paperwork would not have been as effective as collaborative efforts that offer employers real assistance by qualified ergonomic specialists. With intensity, purpose and focus, these tools will enable OSHA to help employers make and implement decisions to protect workers.

“American businesses have a clear interest in reducing injuries and improving worker productivity. Helping those businesses that previously failed to understand how ergonomics programs serve their interests or lacked the necessary specialized expertise to design and implement effective programs is a step forward for all concerned. The litmus test is whether American workers will be better served by a more focused educational and enforcement effort—and we believe they will,” Farmer concluded.

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