Representatives of small businesses can register to participate in teleconferences about the MSD column proposal.

OSHA Sets Three Calls on Adding MSD Column

Any small business interested in participating in one of the teleconferences should contact Regina Powers at powers.regina@dol.gov by April 4.

OSHA apparently hasn't persuaded skeptical members of Congress or business groups that its plan to restore a column to the 300 Log to record work-related musculoskeletal disorders is just an innocent recordkeeping improvement. Not giving up, the agency on March 23 announced it will hold three teleconferences so small-business representatives can provide feedback about the proposed column.

OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels has stressed recently that most small businesses aren't required to maintain the log, and the proposal only would require employers already mandated to keep injury and illness records to add the step of checking a column when recording work-related MSDs. Opponents, however, contend the column is a veiled attempt to revive the OSHA ergonomics standard that was repealed 10 years ago.

The first teleconference will be held Monday, April 11, at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The second and third will be held Tuesday, April 12, at 9 a.m. EDT and 1:30 p.m. EDT. OSHA wants participants to discuss their experience in recording work-related MSDs and how they believe the proposed rule would affect them.

The log contained a column for repetitive trauma disorders that included hearing loss and many kinds of MSDs prior to 2001, when OSHA proposed separating hearing loss and MSDs into two columns. The MSD column was deleted in 2003 before the provision took effect.

Any business interested in participating in one of the teleconferences should contact Regina Powers at powers.regina@dol.gov by April 4. For more information, contact Robert Burt, director of OSHA's Office of Regulatory Analysis, at 202-693-1952, or Bruce Lundegren, assistant chief counsel for SBA Advocacy, at 202-205-6144, or visit http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/MSD_Column_Meeting_General_Info.html.

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