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Employers win one: OSHA makes ergonomics rule voluntary

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Preventing Workplace Violence

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last month unveiled its long-awaited plan to reduce workplace ergonomic injuries. Biggest change from the Clinton-era plan: Gone are strict mandates on employers. Instead, OSHA will rely on voluntary efforts.

The agency's goal is to throw out the "one-size-fits-all" approach to ergonomic safety rules and develop more flexible guidelines for specific industries. For details, visit www.osha.gov/ergonomics.

Caution: Don't think OSHA's business-friendly ergonomic rule takes all the pressure off workplace safety. The agency reinforced its promise to step up enforcement, especially in injury-prone industries that employ large numbers of Hispanic, immigrant and non-English-speaking workers.

Also, it plans to go after violators with new legal teeth. For the first time, OSHA will target prosecutable cases from the start. And Labor Department attorneys will be lending a hand when it comes to scouting out offenders and initiating inspections.

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