The General Duty Clause in the regulations of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) requires employers to provide for the health and safety of its employees using computers and working at workstations. More specifically, Sections 1901.901, et seq., set forth the standards for ergonomics, including the reporting of musculoskeletal disorders. OSHA’s website provides guidance to employers wanting to comply with the standards and avoid workplace injuries. For example, the Computer Workstations e-Tool is located at www.osha.gob/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations. On this webpage, OSHA gives guidance on the placement of computer monitors, the use of wrist rests and ergonomically correct chairs. OSHA also provides a webpage on ergonomics safety and health at www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics.
According to Alan M. Kaplan, who has represented companies during OSHA inspections and the subsequent litigation, employers need to be prepared for an OSHA investigation. The first step is to designate one person to be responsible, if an OSHA inspector arrives at the facility for an inspection. That person should have an understanding of OSHA’s regulations that apply to the facility, be prepared to conduct an inspection with the investigator, and take those actions necessary to protect the company. The Firm has prepared an article entitled, “What to do When an OSHA Inspector Comes to your Job Site,” which provides general guidance for employers.