Using the requirements for General Duty Clause violations in Chapter 4 of the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM) and any additional information you can find in OSHA compliance directives or standards interpretations, describe a situation involving ergonomics that could be cited as a violation of the General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act). Explain how your citation meets the four elements listed in the FOM as necessary to prove such a violation
Sample Answer – Example of a Violation of the General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act)
The section 5(a)(1) of the General Duty Clause of the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act require employers to offer their workers with an employment place which is free from renowned hazards which are causing or probable to cause serious harm or death. According to the court, an employer has the legal obligation to offer a workplace that is free from activities or conditions which is recognized by either the industry or employer to be hazardous to the workers in any way (OSHA, n.d.a).
This implies that subjecting any employee to a work situation that result to any kind of renowned injuries which include serious ergonomic injuries is a violation of the General Duty Clause. For an ergonomic hazard to be regarded as the violation of General Duty Clause one must be able to prove that there is existence of ergonomic hazard at the workplace, the hazard existence is recognized by the employer, the hazard is resulting to serious injuries, and that the employer has not implemented any measures to eliminate the hazard, despite knowing of its existence.
For instance instant musculoskeletal disorder is one of the common risks experienced in a material handling industry that involves lengthy sitting hours and repetitive use of hands and fingers for instance in a computer workstation. The harm can be reduced by providing workers in an ergonomic workstation station that include adjustable tables and chair, ergonomic keyboard, foot rest hand support among other changes to ensure a health work environment (OSHA, n.b.c). The employer inability to provide for an improved or an ergonomic workstation where lengthy sitting time is involved which include garment or textile sewing companies and computers workstation can be regarded as the violation of the General Duty Clause.