In the Spirit of Ben, Be Frugal

One of the major hurdles for most professionals working in the ergonomics field is to convince management to invest resources into making changes within work environments. That resistance to change has never been more evident than with the recent opposition from industry to ANSI and OSHA's attempts to promulgate ergonomic standards.

On May 1, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)--the national association of 24,000 merit shop construction firms--and the American Subcontractors Association both testified at an ANSI-accredited standards committee appeal hearing that the ANSI A10.40 standard, Reduction of Musculoskeletal Problems in Construction, should not go forward. The ANSI A10 Committee for Construction and Demolition Operations adopted the standard earlier this year; it would require employers to assess ergonomic risks of job-site tasks, implement solutions for those risks, and have ergonomics experts at their sites.

ABC also is opposing the identical OSHA reform bills filed April 30 by U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., who chairs the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Education and Labor Committee. Their bills would raise penalties, expand OSHA's jurisdiction to state and federal works not currently covered, and expose employers whose repeated violations lead to serious or fatal worker injuries to criminal charges.

Those wishing to learn more and move forward on the issue, rather than wait on industry and government to fight it out, should plan to attend the roundtable discussion 234, titled "Frugal Ergonomics--More Great Solutions," held today from 1:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. The event promises to combine unorthodox manufacturing methods, ergonomics, and lean production ideas to accomplish fantastic results while getting the best use of the resources and materials available. A number of problems and improvements are presented with unique solutions based on outside-the-industry thinking. See how simple, "frugal" solutions make improvements to manufacturing operations.

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