Charging that OSHA is bullying Americans as it forces an ergonomics rule onto the books when science doesn't support the rule, members of the National Coalition on Ergonomics (NCE) testified yesterday that the agency should scrap its proposal until true justification exists.
"OSHA is using the rulemaking process as a vice to squeeze American employers and employees into an unjust and unreasonable rule," said David Sarvadi, counsel to NCE. "The proposal is massive -- with a preamble of more than 1,000 pages, it lacks scientific legal or public policy justification."
NCE members said they could support a rule based on sound science, but that such a foundation does not exist today.
"OSHA has abdicated its responsibility here to provide the scientific and public policy justification for this massive rule. We know it. You know it. It should be scrapped," Ed Gilroy, co-chair of NCE said at the hearing.
"When an agency cites a large volume of technical studies, and then misrepresents their conclusions, they are dealing a rigged hand to the American public to which they are responsible."
Marty Reape, co-chair of NCE testified, "What we need is comprehensive, impartial research that finds justification exists for an ergonomics rule. Without that kind of support, what OSHA is proposing today is likely to result in more harm than good."
Independent economists have found OSHA's proposed rule could cost as much as $100 billion a year -- and even at that cost, it fails to assure the prevention of injuries, members of NCE added.
"OSHA must think it can do as it pleases," added Sarvadi. "But OSHA's ergonomics rule lacks sound science and playing the bully doesn't change that fundamental fact."
OSHA's public hearing on ergonomics continue in Washington, D.C. until April 7. Then, the hearing move on to Chicago and Portland.