WASHINGTON — A proposal by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to change how employers track musculoskeletal disorders has drawn harsh criticism from the baking industry.

The proposed rule, first published in the Jan. 29 issue of the Federal Register, would restore a column to the OSHA 300 Log. The column would be used to record work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Both the American Bakers Association and the Independent Bakers Association submitted comments March 30 in response to the proposal.

“We strenuously urge OSHA to reverse course and conclude that it should not issue the final recording and reporting requirements at this time,” said Rasma I. Zvaners, policy director at the A.B.A.

Reasons the A.B.A. stands in opposition to the proposal relate to the current science around M.S.D.s and the cost of complying with requirement.

“The A.B.A. believes that the current state of scientific and medical knowledge regarding musculoskeletal disorders does not justify the proposed recording and reporting requirements,” Ms. Zvaners said. “Moreover, the national occupational injury and illness statistics prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are sufficient to accomplish OSHA’s goals — additional reporting is not necessary. OSHA attempts to minimize the impact of the proposed rule but drastically underestimates the costs of implementation.”
Nicholas A. Pyle, president of the I.B.A., said the change would leave “an arbitrary wide open interpretation to what an M.S.D. is.”

Confusion would result, he said, leaping to an underreporting of cases in some instances and over reporting in others.”

Mr. Pyle said “OSHA grossly understate the amount of resource, time and expense that business will spending in adapting to the change and subsequent reporting.”