In 2010, EmployNews reported a new federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiative to restore a column on the OSHA Form 300 report for musculoskeletal disorders. Form 300 is the log of workplace injuries and illnesses required for employers in certain job classifications. The change in the form was seen by many as the first step by OSHA in a renewed initiative to propose safety standards for ergonomic practices. In the early 1990s, OSHA's first attempt at regulating employer work practices was criticized in part over inadequate information regarding the extent of such injuries in the workplace.
Earlier this year, OSHA withdrew its proposal to alter the Form 300. A number of legislators expressed concern that this move was the beginning of an attempt by OSHA to circumvent the rulemaking process. As an alternative, OSHA announced its intent to meet with small business groups to determine the impact of the proposed changes on their constituency.
When combined with the recent withdrawal of proposed changed interpretations of its occupational noise standard, this move indicates a retreat by federal OSHA from its aggressive regulatory agenda. It appears that the agency will take a quieter and slower approach to major changes to safety standards.