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OSHA Issues Draft Ergonomics Guidelines on Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries in Shipyards

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New ergonomics guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could help employers and their employees in the shipyard industry prevent musculoskeletal injuries. The draft guideline, Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Shipyards (, was released today by the agency. The public is invited to submit comments to the draft guidelines until Nov. 13, 2007.

"These new guidelines, when finalized, will help us continue to meet OSHA's commitment to publish industry-specific ergonomics guidelines." said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "Many shipyards have made substantial proactive efforts in recent years to address work-related musculoskeletal injuries. These guidelines will be another resource to help them succeed in those efforts."

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that in 2005, the injury and illness rate for the shipyard industry was 10.9 per 100 employees compared to an injury and illness rate of 4.6 per 100 employees for all private industry. In 2005, 31 percent of injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work for shipyard employees involved musculoskeletal disorders.

When finalized, the new guidelines will provide practical recommendations for employers to reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries in their facilities by identifying, evaluating and controlling hazards and using best practices that have been successful in shipyards.

In April 2002, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced a comprehensive plan to reduce ergonomics-related injuries through a combination of industry or task-specific guidelines, enforcement, outreach and assistance, and research. The new guidelines will be the fourth in a series. In 2003 and 2004, OSHA published the final ergonomics guidelines for nursing homes, retail grocery stores and poultry processing industries.

The public is invited to submit comments on the draft guidelines until Nov. 13, 2007. They may submit comments electronically at, the Federal eRulemaking Portal; send three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC, 20210, telephone (202) 693-2350; or FAX to (202) 693-1648. Comments must include the Agency name and the Docket Number for this draft guideline, Docket No. OSHA-2007-0030. See the Federal Register ( STER&p_id=19920) for more information on submitting comments.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit

U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit

SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor
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