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March 13, 1997 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-13

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NATION/WORLD

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 13, 1997 - 9A

'Phat' art

Report of fewer RSI cases
leads to extensive debate

Newsday
The debate over how to prevent
repetitive-stress injury in the workplace
ratcheted up yesterday after the federal
government released figures showing
that in 1995, the number of cases
declined for the first time in more than
a decade.
These most recent data were contained
in a report that showed overall non-fatal
workplace injuries and illnesses dropped
to their lowest rate in a decade.
The number of repetitive-stress
injury, or RSI, cases at private compa-
nies dropped 7 percent to 308,000
nationwide, from 332,000 in 1994,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Those cases accounted for 62
percent of all ailments in the occupa-
tional-illness category. The numbers
(cases employers report to the govern-
ment) fell for the first time since 1982.
Unions, which have been pushing for
a regulation to stem RSI, and their
opponents immediately squared off

over what the data meant.
RSI - ailments of the hands, arms,
shoulders and back caused by repeated
motion - is one of the hottest and most
controversial workplace issues facing
the Occupational Health and Safety
Administration. The agency, citing the
growing number of cases and the cost
of workers' compensation claims, tried
to implement a standard two years ago
that would have required employers to
retool their factories and offices to
make them safer. It was routed by the
Republican-controlled Congress.

Last month, OSHA regrouped and
named its first-ever ergonomics coordi-
nator and announced a new approach to
sell companies on the notion that a stan-
dard makes good business sense.
The largest declines occurred in those
hard-hit industries on which OSHA has
focused, such as meatpacking.
"This demonstrates a need for an
OSHA standard for ergonomics," said
Joel Shufro, executive director of the
New York Commitee for Occupational
Safety and Health, a coalition of union
and health professionals.

F

I N D

Y 0 U R S E L F

AP PHOTO
Wrangtad Pasurapak, a fine arts student at Chulalongkorn University In Bangkok, arranges sculptures for her thesis pro-
ject. The sculptures are exaggerations of the grotesque nature of Bangkok people today.

Israel

Motoists
craving
fast food
The Hartford Courant
It isn't just speed that drives fast food
anymore; it's how it handles.
Today, you not only need it quick,
you need to be able to get it down while
tooling along the highway talking on a
cell phone.
"Burger King makes a great burger,"
says Janet Willits, a regional wine man-
fler who dines before the dashboard
ten enough to keep a towel in her car.
"But that mayo-ketchup glop leaks all
over you. One of the reasons I go to
certain places is because the food is
easy to eat."
According to the National
Restaurant Association, Americans will
devour more than $103 billion worth of
fast food in 1997, an increase of 2.5
percent from 1996.
And although no one knows how
uch of this food will be munched in
motion, the indications are it will be
considerable.
"We estimate that 60 percent of our
business is drive-through," says Laurie
Gannon, a spokesperson for Taco Bell,
"and what we have done with our prod-
uct and packaging is try to make it easy
for our customers to eat and drive,
because we know that's what they are
ing."
Sandelman and Associates, a West
Coast fast-food marketing firm, reports
that drive-through business now
accounts for 40 percent to 50 percent of
fast-food sales in Southern California.
Glen Mayo, owner of Mayo's Auto
and Truck Reconditioning in South
Windsor, Conn., said, "Cars are a lot
dirtier now than when I first started in
this business 32 years ago. Cars come
in now with food everywhere, under
?*e seats, between the seats, on the
windshield. And you find everything
-- burgers, fries, ketchup stains, chick-
en bones. Some cars are rolling fast-
food markets. It's like no one eats at
home anymore."
Because of the trend toward eating
the to-go as you go, many traditional
fast-food favorites may soon have to be
adapted to motorized munching.
Consider Subway's 12-inch meatball
*rinder. It's a quick order. It's tasty. It's
priced right. But to eat this sauce-ooz-
ing torpedo while driving requires spe-
Cial clothing, something in the order of
a full-body napkin with run-off gutters.
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