Congress exercised (for the first time) its authority under the Congressional Review Act of 1996 to override and nullify OSHA’s Ergonomics Rules. To see how this law may be used against other federal agency rulemaking, and what it portends for OSHA in the future, contact Shell.
Over a decade in the offing and delayed more by politics than science, OSHA has finally promulgated an ergonomics standard (29 CFR 1910.900), which will become effective on January 16, 2001. The standard requires that when an employee reports a musculoskeletal disorder the employer must review risk factors associated with the job, and establish an ergonomics program for that job if the risk factors meet an action trigger established in the standard. For information on the standard and how it may apply to you, contact Shell.
On November 23, 1999, OSHA published its long-awaited (dreaded) proposed Ergonomics Standard in the Federal Register. The standard will require ergonomics programs at employers where one or more employee has suffered a musculoskeletal disorder. Employees on disability leave will have to be paid 100% of their wages and benefits. For more information, contact Shell.
For several years OSHA has had the right to obtain employers’ self-audits. In some instances OSHA inspectors have routinely demanded voluntary self-audits at the outset of an inspection, using the road map to investigate possible violations, and if found, classify them as willful. On October 6, 1999 (and finalized on July 28, 2000) OSHA announced that it will no longer do so. BUT BEWARE. OSHA may still demand self-audits if it independently suspects a violation.
On March 31, 1999 OSHA announced a pilot program in the Midwest region to educate employees about OSHA’s whistleblower protections. OSHA wants workers to know they have the right to report safety and health problems without fear of employer reprisals. OSHA will distribute a brochure on the subject, printed in English, Polish and Spanish. Strengthened legislative efforts also are planned.