It's all over for OSHA's ERGO RULE

March 8, 2001
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

It took OSHA ten years to develop ergonomics requirements for industry — and two days for Congress to kill them. After an uproarious debate, the House (on March 6th) and Senate (on March 7th) voted largely along party lines to scrap the rules, which would have covered 102 million workers at 6.1 million work sites.

It was a classic labor-management brawl. “The voices of injured workers were not heard in the halls of Congress. They were drowned out by the predatory demands of corporate greed," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

“If OSHA is not checked, no job in America will be unaffected,” said the National Coalition on Ergonomics, representing 51 industry trade groups.

Lawmakers dusted off and used for the first time ever a little-known piece of legislation set in 1996 called the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn federal regulations within 60 days of their being issued. OSHA’s ergo rules went into effect four days before President George W. Bush took office. The votes to repeal the ergo rule — by margins of 56-44 in the Senate and 223-206 in the House — marked the first time in OSHA’s 30-year history that a job safety and health standard was rejected by Congress.

Republicans and Democrats bitterly accused each other of political pay-offs. Ergo rules were rushed out in the waning days of the Clinton administration to repay labor for its support in the election, GOP lawmakers railed. Democrats countered that the requirements were being wiped out by Republicans bowing to big business’s wishes.

At press time, President Bush was set to sign the measure. The White House earlier had signaled its opposition to the Clinton rules. “These regulations would cost employers, large and small, billions of dollars annually while providing uncertain benefits,” the administration said in a statement.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.


Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon



Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/9/14 2:00 pm EDT

Welding: It doesn't have to be a grind. The latest in respiratory protection and PPE for welders and grinder

Attendees of this webinar will gain knowledge of hazards and appropriate PPE for welding applications, regulatory drivers that are changing the landscape of PPE within welding applications and the latest product technologies being offered in welding PPE.

ISHN Magazine


2014 August

Check out ISHN's August issue which features content about pain prevention, forklift operation safety and a preview of the National Safety Congress and Expo.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - May 2014

ISHN0514FDO_cover.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEMAY 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.