The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 08, 1999, Page 7, Image 7

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    Professor helps revise OSHA standards
Proposed ergonomics regulations
would force workstation safety
By Kim Sweet
Staff writer
Businesses potentially employing
UNL students could be more worker
friendly in the future thanks to the
efforts of a University of Nebraska
Lincoln professor.
Dave Cochran, professor of indus
trial and management systems engi
neering, helped to form a working draft
of ergonomics standards that was
released two weeks by the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration.
The standards deal with ergonom
ics, the science of adapting work condi
tions to suit workers.
If passed, the standards would force
businesses to make workstations less
likely to cause work-related muscu
loskeletal disorders, such as carpal tun
nel syndrome, in employees.
, Susan Hallbeck, associate professor
of industrial engineering, said the pro
posed standards her co-worker Cochran
helped formulate were needed in a num
ber of manufacturing industries.
“The general concept I have seen so
far is wonderful,” Hallbeck said. “(The
standards) are beneficial not only from a
physical point of view, but are beneficial
to the workers psychologically.”
Implementing ergonomic standards
will reduce injuries and allow workers
to be able to work to an older age,
Hallbeck said
Making sure working environments
are ergonomically correct will also
allow people to go home from work
injury-free, enabling them to have a life
outside of their work, Hallbeck said.
The standards are also beneficial for
companies. Working environments less
prone to injuries could improve worker
moral and productivity, she said.
There have been efforts to create
ergonomic standards since 1992,
Cochran said The efforts were halted by
congressional action.
The process started up again, but
has been riddled with politics, Cochran
Some business groups have criti
cized the legitimacy of ergonomics, say
ing there isn’t enough scientific
research to prove the problems
ergonomics claims to solve really exist
But Cochran said the amount of
research on musculoskeletal disorders
and ergonomics is significant
Research done by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics states that muscu
loskeletal disorders account for 34 per
cent of all lost workday injuries and ill
nesses. They also account for every $ 1
of $3 spent in workers compensation,
according to OSHA’s Web site.
Michael Riley, chairman and pro
fessor of industrial and management
systems engineering, agreed with
Cochran about the amount of research
showing that musculoskeletal disorders
are prevalent in workplaces.
He said many criticisms of
ergonomics come from people who are
leery of more regulations in workplaces.
“People are going to criticize it
because they see it as more regulation,”
Riley said.
The process the recommendations
must go through to become a standard is
extensive, Cochran said.
The next step in the implementation
process requires OSHA to consult with
industries the standard will affect.
Suggestions for improvements will beu
After many consultations with
industry leaders and revisions of the
working draft, the standard is printed in
the Federal Register. Cochran said he
hopes this step occurs by Sept 30.
“OSHA works very hard to write a
final rule or standard,” Cochran said.
“It’s a very long, deliberate process.”
Hallbeck said Cochran’s work in
collaborating with labor unions, manu
facturing associations, government
workers and other groups to formulate
the standards was extremely commend
able and reflected well on UNL.
“There are really very few people in
the country who could pull it off,” she
Scams may put damper
on spring break plans
SCAMS from page 1
The group received only a small
reimbursement for unplanned expens
es, said Jim Reed, a junior marketing
“They gave us a bunch of stuff we
didn’t use, like a free boat ride, some
lunches and free entrances to parties,”
he said. Lee called the Better Business
Bureau to complain. The company,
which had changed names several
times, had disappeared.
Lee said he will be more careful the
next time he buys a spring break trip
“(I’ll use) my travel agent, so I can
go this time,” he said.
Stall came to her office after spring
break about 10 years ago and found
eight angry students waiting outside.
The students had paid for a spring
break package, but the out-of-state
company they had bought it from had
disappeared. The students never got
their money back.
“The company couldn’t be prose
cuted because they couldn’t be found,”
Stall said. She said local travel agents
are easier to sue because they can’t dis
appear as readily.
Local travel agents are also more
likely to work with students because
they want a good reputation, she said,
and are easier to contact if students get
stranded. A travel Web site or an out
of-state company may not be able to
help in emergencies, she said.
No matter what company used, she
said, students should question the writ
ten contract before paying for the trip.
“You’ll want to find out what is die
‘reputable hotel,”’ Stall said.
Marilyn Bath, a consumer special
ist in Nebraska Attorney General Don
Stenberg’s office, said her consumer
protection office hasn’t received many
complaints about hotels.
“Once students arrive, they’re hav
ing so much fun they don’t care if there
are cockroaches under the bed,” she
Students looking to
spend a week on the
powdery slopes or the
sandy beaches...
should take some precautions
before buying a travel package.
These tips are courtesy of UNL
Student Legal Services and the
Nebraska Attorney General’s
1. Use a local travel company you
have heard good things about
in the past.
2. Call the Better Business
Bureau at (402) 476-5261 to
ask about a travel company’s
3. Don’t buy a package over the
4. Pay with a credit card.
5. Read the entire contract before
you sign.
6. See if the contract allows the
company to change the travel
7. Ask the company the actual
names of the hotels and
airlines. If possible, make
sure the hotel is not in a
bad area of town.
Being stranded in an airport is a
common complaint, Bath said,
because companies can sometimes
delay trips.
“It’s not always a scam,” Bath
said. “It’s just that students fail to
read the contract carefully.”
Stall said she expects to receive
the frantic phone calls again this
April. Both Stall and Bath said stu
dents shouldn’t be embarrassed to
“Many intelligent people fall vic
tim,” Bath said. “It’s easier to be
scammed than you might think.”
Programs bring taste of
Asian culture to campus
ASIA from page 1
wisdom and peace lies hidden in the
highlands of Central Asia.
The paradise has jewel lakes, wish
fulfilling trees and speaking stones.
The event, organizers said, was a
way to show Shangri La was accessible
to anyone.
She added that this event brought
the Asian Student Alliance one step
closer to its goal of creating an under
standing of the diverse cultures in Asia.
Sarah Kippenbrock, a freshman
biology major, said the features of the
Asian cultures at the events fascinated
Xippenbrock said a lack of under
standing exists between American and
Asian students on campus, and more
events like these could increase under
“Students from Nebraska don’t see
meeting Asian students as a learning
experience,” she said.
Chee-Peng Tan, president of the
Malaysian Student Assoc iation, said the
Malaysian event brought University of
Nebraska-Lincoln students of different
cultures together.
“I feel good about seeing
Americans and Malaysians getting into
contact at this festival.”
E.N. Thompson
Forum on World Issues
A cooperative project of The Cooper Foundation and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Superpower or Supercop:
Dangers and Opportunities in
the Post Cold War Era
In advising the President and in coordinating implementation of
some of the toughest decisions the United States has made since *
the end of the Cold War, Lake has been known for his advocacy of
extending the reach of democracy and open markets around the
world. He is uniquely positioned to shed light on the “fragile
stability” of our post cold war period, examining economic and
political opportunities and dangers in an era of global
communications and markets.
DwryimTTOT wra AM*-micoLM
International Affairs
Division of Continuing Studies
Department of Academic Conferences
and Professional Programs
Anthony Lake
Farmer National Security
Adviser to President Clinton
March 9
3:30 p.m. '
lied Center for
Performing Arts
12th and R Streets
Lincoln. Neb.
TTm Urwartiy of Nebraska a
»n rfhmrtive *clionf«qu*l
^P^ BB opportunity ratikibon.
^MDS Harris
Together, We're Making lives Better
621 Rose Street, Lincoln