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U.S. Chamber Hails Senate Defeat of Ergo Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Chamber of Commerce applauded the Senate's bipartisan rejection of the Clinton administration's "ill-conceived, expensive and unscientific" ergonomics rule and urged the House to quickly follow suit.
"Congress must act now to stop an unworkable regulation that is a gross disservice to workers, employers, and the public," said Randel Johnson, Chamber vice president for labor policy. "Under the rule, OSHA inspectors will have broad discretion to order changes in the workplace and the structure of jobs, backed up by the threat of federal penalties, costing businesses billions of dollars without any assurance of benefits to workers."
The Senate passed a Resolution of Disapproval (S.J. Res. 6) to overturn the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ergonomics rule 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. A House vote could come as soon as tomorrow.
"Repeal of the ergonomics regulation is a top priority for the Chamber and its member companies," said Johnson. "If it is not stopped, the ergonomics rule will create a cottage industry for lawyers and consultants seeking millions in fees and forcing businesses to postpone productive investments that benefit workers."
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 has 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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