OSHA, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Create Alliance

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today formed an alliance with the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) with a specific goal of improving the workplace to prevent future ergonomic-related injuries.

"Perhaps no one is more attuned to the debilitating effects ergonomic-related injuries have on workers than the health care professionals represented by AAOS," said OSHA administrator John L. Henshaw. "They've committed to sharing with us the orthopaedic community's vast clinical expertise on musculoskeletal injury and disease. We welcome this valuable relationship."

"This is an important opportunity for OSHA and the healthcare community to work together in helping people work safely, remain productive and avoid debilitating ergonomic-related injuries," said AAOS president James H. Herndon, MD. "While we believe continued research is needed to establish a better understanding of work-related musculoskeletal injuries, we shouldn't wait to improve the workplace to prevent future injury. This alliance helps do just that."

The alliance specifies that OSHA and AAOS will serve as resources to both AAOS members and OSHA personnel to help them protect workers' health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing ergonomic hazards. To accomplish that, both organizations plan on seeking opportunities to jointly develop information at conferences, events, and through media outlets, including their individual Web sites. Additionally, OSHA and AAOS will provide speakers and exhibits for conferences and other events to promote OSHA's comprehensive four-pronged approach to address ergonomic issues.

OSHA has agreed to educate its personnel on current research initiatives and workplace hazard identification, with the help of AAOS resources. Likewise, the Academy will work with OSHA as it develops a clearinghouse of training and education information on ergonomic issues.

Both organizations have agreed to share information supporting the solutions to ergonomic problems already developed by AAOS, as well as examples of hazard recognition strategies and analytical tools with OSHA and others to encourage wide implementation. Finally, OSHA is encouraging Academy members to act as liaisons and resources for OSHA's various cooperative programs. Joint participation in forums and roundtable discussions on ergonomic problems rounds out the alliance goals.

AAOS has more than 26,000 members and provides education programs for orthopedic surgeons, allied health professionals and the public.

OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.