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No Pain, No Gain?

OSHA's ergonomics proposal causes a sore spot in the business community.

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This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

OSHA, which has proposed a federal standard to prevent repetitive-motion injuries, may get its own case of tendinitis--from having to throw its hands up to protect itself from all the brickbats being thrown its way. Nearly every business group in the country has criticized the OSHA proposal. "Requiring employers to institute such comprehensive ergonomics programs, when OSHA's own ergonomists can't even pinpoint the conditions that cause ergonomic-related injuries, is disingenuous," says Jennifer Krese, director of employment policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.

The proposed standard does contain a small concession for entrepreneurs: Those with fewer than 10 employees would be exempt from the standard's record-keeping requirements, which comprise a small part of the six-point program companies would have to adopt once a worker reported his or her job had caused a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

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