As OSHA''s ergonomics standard went into effect yesterday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, urged President-elect Bush and Congress not to take any action that would undercut the new standard.
"If the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress are serious about wanting to heal the wounds from the election, they can start by supporting OSHA''s new ergonomics standard that will stop painful injuries," urged AFSCME President Gerald McEntee. "President Bush has said that he intends to be the president of all the people. But he cannot make good on that promise if his appointees are not committed to supporting and enforcing the ergonomics standard and other worker safety laws."
AFSCME said it is keeping a close eye on Congress as well. Congress has the authority, which it has never used, to repeal major governmental regulations.
"We are putting both the incoming administration and the Republican-controlled Congress on notice that they will have a big fight on their hands if there is any attempt to kill, gut or delay the ergonomics standard."
The ergonomics standard that is now in effect was developed following OSHA''s review of thousands of studies, more than two months of public hearings and testimony from hundreds of witnesses.
Employers covered by this standard have until Oct. 16, 2001 to provide information to their employees about musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) how to report injuries and the requirements of the OSHA standard.
After that, employers must respond to workers'' reports of MSDs and take actions to fix problems.
by Virginia Sutcliffe