1-Day Conference to Explore Workplace Ergonomics

With an expressed goal of helping organizations develop proactive approaches to identify and reduce exposure to risk factors that cause work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the American Society of Safety Engineers' Central Florida Chapter will host a one-day ergonomics professional development conference (PDC) on Nov. 4, 2009, at the Orlando Repertory Theater.

The conference will include two general sessions and four concurrent sessions covering topics on office ergonomics; workstation design; ergonomics in construction and general industry; worker's compensation issues around ergonomic injuries/illnesses; body techniques for ergonomic injury prevention; human factors/design; and rehabilitation after an ergonomic injury or illness.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders refer to injuries or illnesses affecting the connective tissues of the body such as muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs and accounted for 29 percent of all workplace injuries requiring time away from work in 2007. In addition, BLS noted that there were 335,390 MSDs in 2007 requiring a median of nine days away from work, two days more than the median for all days away from work cases. However, in 2007, MSDs involving days away from work declined by 21,770 cases from 2006.

"Ergonomics affects virtually every aspect of the safety profession, from machine use to construction safety to office set-up," said ASSE Central Florida Chapter President Jeff Spackman. "As an ASSE chapter, we do everything possible to be of the greatest value to our members who are committed to protecting people, property, and the environment. We felt holding a development conference on this very important topic would be of the greatest value to the greatest number of our members."

Isabel Perry, Ph.D., president of TheSafetyDoctor.com Inc., will present the keynote presentation. Other speakers at the daylong event will include Daniel McCune, safety director at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Eric Austin, CSP, senior loss control consultant at Amerisure Insurance; Ronald Porter, director at Back School of Atlanta; ASSE Region IV Vice President Michael Belcher, CSP, director of safety at DS Waters of America LP; and Sally Darlin of CORA. In addition, there will be speakers from OSHA and the University of Southern Florida.

The Central Florida Chapter PDC is co-sponsored by ASSE's Ergonomics Branch, part of the ASSE Industrial Hygiene Practice Specialty, along with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), ASSE's Women in Safety Engineering (WISE) Common Interest Group, the Central Florida Alliance for Safety, Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

For more information from ASSE about ergonomics issues, visit the society's Ergonomics branch Website at www.asse.org/practicespecialties/ergonomics/ or go to the organization's Ergo Resources Project at www.asse.org/practicespecialties/bosc/ergo_links.php. For information and registration for the Nov. 4 PDC, go to http://centralfl.asse.org.

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