N.C. Labor Commissioner Drops Ergonomics Lawsuit

Cherie Berry, North Carolina's new labor commissioner,\r\ndropped a law suit last week that her predecessor filed over proposed ergonomics rules.

Cherie Berry, North Carolina''s new labor commissioner, dropped a law suit last week that her predecessor filed over proposed ergonomics rules.

Former Commissioner Harry Payne led the fight to get state ergonomics rules passed in North Carolina.

He sued the state''s Rules Review Commission when the committee rejected his proposal, claiming the panel overstepped its authority.

The statewide rules were designed to reduce workplace musculoskeletal disorders.

When OSHA released the federal ergonomics standard in November, North Carolina adopted the rule but the North Carolina Labor Department''s suit against the Rules Review Commission stayed on track.

Last week, Berry said she couldn''t justify the cost of the lawsuit when a federal standard was already in place.

"I thought it was absurd for one state agency to be suing another state agency at a cost of $200,000 to the taxpayer," said Berry. "Under the old lawsuit, the Labor Department basically was suing to create what would now be a second layer of rules. We are not spending $200,000 of the taxpayers'' money to do that."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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