Yellow Corp. president & CEO William Zollars warns that proposed ergonomic regulations by OSHA are “inadequate and self-contradictory” and could cause more problems than solutions.
“When we as businesses make ergonomic decisions, we are practicing more of an art than a science,” Zollars said today on behalf of the National Coalition on Ergonomics, a business-backed lobbying group seeking to reform OSHA’s proposed regulations. “We cannot determine what to do or how far to go based on a scientific formula, because there is no formula capable of providing these answers.”
For that reason, he explained, proposed ergonomics regulations could prove troublesome. He added that Yellow takes a less-structured approach to ergonomics.
“If there is a reasonable, practical, and beneficial approach to make a job at Yellow easier or better, we will adopt it,” he said. “That works fine for a company acting voluntarily, but it does not provide a basis for coherent regulation. OSHA must look solely at injury risk, and it must rely on real science to determine exactly what should be required to reduce that risk.”
However, he added, OSHA has not been able to do that so far.
“Two years ago, OSHA gave us a proposed rule that would have asked us to reduce exposure ‘in a way that is reasonably anticipated to significantly reduce the likelihood that covered musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) will occur.’” He said. “We could not tell from this language what we were expected to do. Without even knowing what we would be doing, how could anyone make a rational assessment of the rule or its scientific justification?”