Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dem White House hopefuls would resurrect OSHA rule

Ergonomics legislation may get back on the table ...

"Most of the Democratic presidential candidates are promising to revisit a controversial workplace safety regulation that the Republican-led Congress overturned in 2001.

Every Democratic White House hopeful, except for Sen. Joseph Biden Jr. (Del.), is promising to resurrect a similar version of the Clinton administration’s ergonomics rule, which sought to reduce work-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, adamantly opposed the rule, claiming it would cost industry billions to comply. They also argued that it was impossible for the government to determine which so-called musculoskeletal injuries were work-related.

In a crushing blow to the AFL-CIO, the House and Senate voted to overturn the regulation under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), and it was subsequently signed by President Bush in March of 2001. The Bush administration then issued voluntary guidelines on ergonomics.

Peg Seminario, director of the AFL-CIO’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health, said unions want an administration that will firmly address ergonomics by appointing competent heads of the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “We need to be strong and thoughtful in proceeding on this issue because it will continue to be a big political fight,” she said.

Under the CRA, the exact ergonomics rule that was overturned cannot be reinstated, though a similar regulation could be."    (Continued via    [Ergonomics Resources]

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