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For Immediate Release
January 6, 2003
Media Contact Information:
Kevin Weeks 503-947-7428  (direct dial)

Ergonomics Awareness class coming to Portland

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) will be offering a training session about ergonomics to members of the Portland business community during February at no cost to participants.

The Public Education Section of Oregon OSHA will be offering "Ergonomics Awareness" on February 5 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. The workshop will be held at the Sheet Metal Workers Training Center Room #211, 2379 NE 178th Avenue in Portland (near Interstate 84 and 181st). Oregon OSHA provides workshop materials for participants.

The workshop will be an introduction to ergonomics, the science concerning human performance and safety in relation to their job's equipment, tools and environment. Workshop participants will learn about eight key factors which affect the health of a worker:

· The frequency of work-related motion
· The time duration of the work performed
· Force required to perform the task
· Posture of the worker while performing the task
· Point of Operation issues
· Mechanical Pressures
· Vibration factors of the task
· Environment the worker is exposed to

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently identified three worker groups who show a higher-than-average incidence of repetitive motion injuries - truck drivers, nursing aides and laborers. In 2000, almost 26 percent of the 1.7 million Americans injured at work were service sector workers with injuries related to muscle, nerve or tendon damage. In Oregon, one-fifth of the 24,645 workers' compensation accepted disabling claims in 2001 were due to back strains and sprains. Practicing good ergonomics in the workplace can increase work productivity by reducing down-time caused by worker injuries, stress and fatigue.

"The pain and lost-time impacts of injuries due to repetitive motion injuries create two burdens," says Peter De Luca, administrator of Oregon OSHA. "The first direct impact is in medical costs of helping an injured worker get well and absorbing the lost productivity of what that person contributes. The second indirect cost occurs years later when a worker must cope with the pain and treatment of a cumulative stress disorder."

Oregon OSHA offers a variety of conferences, on-site training, educational resources and consultation services to help Oregon employers create safer workplaces and reduce the amount of productivity lost due to injuries which occur at work. Additional information and resources are available on Oregon OSHA's website, www.orosha.org, which now includes an expanded ergonomics section to help employers solve ergonomic issues.

For more information about this workshop or to register, call the Oregon OSHA Education Section, (503) 947-7443, or toll-free in Oregon, (888) 292-5247 Option 2.