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Defeat of Unworkable Ergonomics Regulation a Top Priority

Tuesday, March 6, 2001 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce applauded congressional action to put a stop to the Clinton administration's "ill-conceived, expensive and unscientific" ergonomics rule and welcomed news that President Bush intends to sign the Resolution of Disapproval.

"Congress took the right step in stopping a regulation that would cost businesses billions of dollars without any proven benefit to workers," said Randel Johnson, Chamber vice president for labor policy. "The ergo regulation was a political payback to unions and congress has wisely refused to sign that blank check."

The House passed the Senate Resolution of Disapproval to overturn the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ergonomics rule – one day after similar action by the Senate – under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to kill regulations within 60 legislative days of final issuance. Both houses of Congress must approve the resolution by a simple majority and secure President Bush's signature in order to rescind the regulation.

"Repeal of the ergonomics regulation is a big win for the Chamber and its member companies," said Johnson. "The rule would have been a gross disservice to workers, employers, and the public at large. Lawyers and consultants would have gotten richer, millions in fees would change hands and productive investments put off, but the rule would provide no additional workplace safety."

The ergonomics rule, issued by the Clinton administration on November 14 and effective January 16, ignores legitimate scientific debate over the causes of musculoskeletal disorders, supersedes state worker compensation laws and is so broad and vague that it covers more than 100 million employees by OSHA's own estimates. The Chamber lobbied heavily for repeal of the regulation and filed suit in federal court on November 13, charging the ergo rule is incomprehensible and unconstitutional.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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