OSHA Withdraws Musculoskeletal Disorder Column Proposal

OSHA announced yesterday that it was taking the proposed musculoskeletal disorder column for work place injury and illness logs off the table temporarily in order to “seek greater input from small businesses on the impact of the proposal.”

As the leading cause of workplace injury and illness (accounting for 28 percent of all reported workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2009) the topic is sure to remain in OSHA’s sight.

According to the press release, OSHA’s change in direction does not "change existing requirements about when and under what circumstances employers must record MSD s on their injury and illness logs."

OSHA also announced it would be working with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy to hold a joint meeting to gather feedback from small businesses as it works to revamp the proposal to address small business concerns. Details and dates for a meeting are expected in the next month.

This is the second time in a week that OSHA has taken its foot off the accelerator on a key piece of its 2011 regulatory agenda. Just last week, OSHA announced that it was going to spend more time investigating its proposed adjustments to the noise standard.

These reversals, taken together in so short a time, give the impression of a shift in thinking at OSHA. If these actions are the result of a broader strategy change, it remains to be seen whether that change is the result of a successful lobbying effort from outside the agency, top down pressure from the administration, or simply an internal correction.