May 2000 AAOS Report

AAOS: OSHA's proposed standards unacceptable

The AAOS supports efforts to improve the health and safety of workers and efforts to prevent and reduce injury on the job, but it cannot support the national ergonomic standards of the scope and magnitude as currently proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Peter J. Mandell, MD, said last month. Dr. Mandell, chairman of the AAOS occupational health committee, told a public hearing conducted by OSHA in Chicago that the current scientific evidence does not justify OSHA's standards. The AAOS urged OSHA to postpone introduction of national ergonomic standards, and let the National Occupational Research Agenda for musculoskeletal disorders shape future standards. Dr. Mandell said before the AAOS supports a national ergonomic standards, it needs to know more about failure limits of human tissue in different individuals and under various work conditions and the impact of incremental work changes and work loads on employees. More data also is needed on the impact of multiple factors, both on and off the job, on musculoskeletal symptoms, injury, reporting, impairment and disability. "We believe the body of evidence supporting national ergonomic standards, and appropriate interventions, should demonstrate a more precise relationship of work activities to specific musculoskeletal injuries before meaningful standards can be expected to work," Dr. Mandell said.

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