Letter to the editor
The recent announcement by John Henshaw, the assistant secretary of Labor
for Occupational Safety and Health, that OSHA will establish a voluntary
standard for ergonomics is bad news for all federal workers ["Labor softens ergo stance"].
Few federal agencies had established ergonomic programs and programs
to reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
Mandatory standards on such issues as emergency egress have forced both
the public and private sectors to ensure that employees have and secure
A voluntary program with the words "trust management" does not really
guarantee anything except continued increases in repetitive strain injuries
or cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
The government must recognize that it cannot simply think that American
workers are the same things as parts in a factory such as nuts and bolts,
something that be easily replaced or thrown out to the worker's compensation
Workers are consumers too and the Henshaw decision is something that
will tragically impact all Americans.
Health and safety representative
American Federation of Government Employees