Army Corps Sets a Standard on Construction Ergonomics

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

Describes the standards that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been using for the Prevention of Cumulative Trauma.
May 1998

Proposals for an OSHA ergonomics standard for construction have long upset workers and management. Some say a standard would be too hard to use. Others say a standard is overdue.

For more than a year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been using its own Standard for the Prevention of Cumulative Trauma. The Corps published section 06.K of its regulations in September 1996.

Among other things, the Corps standard says:
  • Contractors must evaluate any work activities that "stress the body's capabilities," including "lifting, handling or carrying, rapid or frequent application of high grasping forces, repetitive hand/arm manipulations, tasks that include continuous, intermittent, impulsive or impact hand-arm vibration or whole body vibration."
  • Contractors must recommend controls to prevent injuries. The analysis must be in the pre-job activity hazard analysis required for each construction project.
  • Hand-arm vibration levels (from equipment) must be below limits set by the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists.
  • Contractors must train workers in ergonomics before hazardous work begins.
For a copy of the Army Corps standard, call the Army Corps Safety and Occupational Health Office at 202-761-0093.

If you are working on an Army Corps project, we would like to know your experiences with the ergonomics standard. Please contact Scott Schneider at CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training, 301-578-8500.

US Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual