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Call Your Lawmakers Today!

February 26, 2001

The National Restaurant Association urges its members to contact their U.S. senators and representatives and ask them to reject the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recently issued ergonomics standard. In talking with members of Congress, keep the following points in mind:

OSHA Ergonomics Mandatory Program Elements for Restaurants

--Will apply to all restaurants, almost 844,000 work sites.

--Grandfathering of pre-existing programs will be limited to programs that include most of the established OSHA standard requirements.

--Requires employers to conduct employee training on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and the establishment of a reporting system. Employers of 11 or more employees (full or part-time) must establish a written MSD reporting system and report MSD injuries to OSHA.

--Employees are entitled to job protection and 90 percent pay for 90 days if they experience a MSD. There is no limit on the number of individual 90- day periods that can be claimed by an employee.

--Employees are entitled to 100 percent pay if they experience a MSD and are limited to restricted work.

--OSHA requires employers to cover any reported on the job MSD that lasts seven days, even if the employee has a pre-existing condition or the MSD is primarily the result of an off the job injury.

--One reported MSD injury would trigger the OSHA Standard and mandate compliance actions.

Problems with Regulation

--OSHA rushed this complex regulation with little to no industry input. OSHA rejected 95 percent of all industry comments on the rule.

--Restaurant injury rates are below average and on the decline, MSD injuries are down 25 percent over the last four years. Clearly, the ergonomics problem is on the decline even without OSHA action.

--MSD injuries are poorly defined with no objective medical confirmation available.

--MSD injuries have no standard treatment protocol so medical treatment is often speculative and widely varying.

--OSHA took a “one-size-fits-all” manufacturing approach to control ergonomics injuries. The complexities of the restaurant industry were never fully considered.

Take Action

Call your senators and representatives and ask them to “support the Joint Resolution of Disapproval to reject OSHA’s Ergonomic Standard.” You may find contact information and biographies at www.restaurant.org/government, or call the NRA Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Source: NRA Washington Weekly

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