Study boosts ergonomic standard effort
WASHINGTON — The most comprehensive review ever of repetitive stress injuries has found ``strong evidence'' that such injuries are work-related, adding support to federal regulators' push to develop a national ergonomic standard.
Industry and regulators have debated scientific evidence surrounding such injuries, but the July 1 report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health immediately was hailed by another federal agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as support for a standard it would propose.
Lewis Freeman, vice president of governmental affairs for the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., said SPI has opposed previous ergonomic standards because they were not supported by scientific evidence.
Congress lifted its ban on OSHA developing a standard last year, and the agency hopes to propose one next year, an OSHA spokesman said. The NIOSH report said it is the most comprehensive review of work-related repetitive injuries.
NIOSH is part of the Department of Health and Human Services; OSHA is part of the Department of Labor.
Lobbyists still oppose EPA air proposal
WASHINGTON—Plastics industry lobbyists are protesting President Clinton's decision to modify—but essentially support—tough new Environmental Protection Agency air quality rules.
Clinton said June 25 that he largely would support the EPA proposal. His decision keeps in place the broad standards EPA proposes, but would afford some flexibility on implementation.
Lewis Freeman, vice president of government affairs at the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington, said industry's chief objections remain: The science behind the proposal is questionable, it will cost businesses money and will not produce any health benefits.
Mark Wygonik, director of technology and regulatory affairs at the Washington-based Flexible Packaging Association, questioned whether the promised flexibility will be forthcoming. He noted that environmental organizations could sue the EPA under the Clean Air Act and force tougher implementation.
Former DuPont workers buy Alcryn line
WILMINGTON, DEL.—DuPont Co. has sold its Alcryn thermoplastic elastomer line to Advanced Polymer Alloys of Wilmington, a new firm started by four former DuPont employees who worked with Alcryn. The company plans to hire more workers in the next six months, according to APA President W. Robert Abell, who managed the Alcryn business for DuPont.
APA estimates Alcryn's worldwide sales at $20 million annually. The company, which started June 1, will use the same Midwest compounder as DuPont, but would not reveal its name. APA also would not disclose details of the sale.
Alcryn is a specialty thermoplastic rubber that combines the functional properties and environmental resistance of rubber with the look, feel and performance of vulcanized rubber, APA said. Alcryn is used for weatherstripping, injection molded parts, blow molding and other such uses.
The market for Alcryn has been small and specialized. Abell believes that Wilmington-based DuPont is more interested in products with bigger markets.
APA will make and distribute Alcryn worldwide except for in Japan, where APA has special contracts to use DuPont distributors. The company would not disclose the cost of starting APA, or give details on machines or the facility.
Connector maker moving plant to mexico
MEMPHIS, TENN.—Thomas & Betts Corp. plans to move injection molding operations from its Sanford, Maine, facility to Monterrey, Mexico, and eliminate or reassign almost 90 jobs at the plant.
Memphis-based Thomas & Betts, a manufacturer of electronic connectors, acquired the Sanford plant when it bought Augat Inc. late last year in a deal valued at about $600 million, said T&B spokesman Randolph Baker.
Baker said six of the eight injection presses in Sanford will be moving to Mexico. Sanford's high-speed, metal-stamping operations are moving to Boyne, Mich., and Inman, S.C.
About 70 full-time and temporary jobs will be eliminated, while 20 jobs are being reassigned, some to Thomas & Betts' retail operations in Irvine, Calif., he said.
Dierks succeed Money as CFA president
MCLEAN, VA. — Fred Dierks, vice president of manufacturing at Aqua Glass Corp. in Adamsville, Tenn., took over July 1 as president of the McLean-based Composites Fabricators Association. His term lasts one year.
Dierks succeeds Pat Money, president of fabricator Compositives Inc. in Garrett, Ind., whose term ended. Dierks had been CFA's vice president.
Aqua Glass is a custom molder and maker of bathtub and shower units and accessories.