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CHICAGO-About 1,000 people braved Chicago's worst snowstorm in about three years to attend a two-day conference about preventing musculoskeletal disorders, which are one of the fastest-growing threats to workplace safety and health.

The conference, whose chief sponsors were the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, gave participants an opportunity to exchange information about effective workplace practices and ergonomics programs to prevent such injuries.

Representatives of business, labor, government and academia discussed ergonomic issues during general and industry-specific sessions, which analyzed risks in a broad variety of workplaces. They included offices, factories, health care facilities, plants, construction sites, farms and mines.

Conference co-sponsors also included the National Safety Council, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the American Industrial Hygiene Assn., the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Assn., the American Assn. of Occupational Health Nurses and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.