KCMA Criticizes OSHA Proposal On Ergonomics
Reston, VA The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association has criticized a proposed new ergonomics regulation published by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), charging that the proposed new code would "threaten" the economic health of cabinet manufacturers.
The KCMA issued its criticism of the proposed regulation in Nov-ember, calling the proposal "vague and unclear," and asserting that the scientific evidence supporting OSHA's position is "inconclusive" (see related Editorial, Page 7)."It is very frustrating to see that OSHA has elected to ignore the intent of the majority of Congress by pushing forward a vague and unclear proposal covering over 27 million workers before the scientific basis for the rule is resolved," said KCMA executive v.p. Dick Titus.
Under the proposed regulation, one musculoskeletal disorder reported in a workplace requires employers to establish a comprehensive ergonomics program and compensate employees who lose time at work recovering from an ergonomic injury at 90% pay and 100% benefits for up to six months, Titus said.
"This is a much greater rate than existing worker compensation laws, and the burden of this on small business and all manufacturers is much greater than any estimate OSHA has produced," Titus stated.
He noted that as a result of voluntary efforts by KCMA members and other employers in the cabinet industry, the number of reported musculoskeletal injuries among factory workers "actually has shown steady decline in recent years."
Titus charged that OSHA is exhibiting a "significant lack of understanding about the true impact of the regulation" on cabinet manufacturers, who typically operate production facilities with staffs made up of fewer than 20 employees.
He added that the "weight" of the regulation will inevitably "fall most heavily on those small businesses that typically have the least flexibility in purchasing expensive new machinery and in making expensive changes in their manufacturing process."