Insurance Industry Applauds Repeal of Ergonomics Rule

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents congratulated the House and Senate for voting to rescind OSHA's\r\nergonomics regulation.

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) congratulated the House and Senate for voting to rescind OSHA''s ergonomics regulation.

Last Wednesday, the House followed the Senate''s lead in voting to repeal the new workplace safety rules aimed at reducing ergonomics injuries.

PIA joined opponents of the ergonomics standard calling it "an onerous financial burden on insurance agencies and small business."

"This congressional action is a victory for fairness and common sense," said Sheila Greenwood, PIA assistant vice president for governmental affairs. "The OSHA rule directly conflicted with and duplicated already existing state workers'' compensation systems in this injury area."

"In addition to not relieving employers of their obligations under state law, it potentially could have doubled their workers'' compensation claims in this area," continued Greenwood. "What made it even worse, was the fact that no workers comp insurance coverage was available for this because workers'' compensation only covers employers'' liabilities under state mandated programs, and this was a duplicative federal mandate."

The House voted 223-206 to repeal the rule less than 24 hours after the Senate passed the repeal measure 56-44.

President Bush said he supported congressional action to repeal the rule and is expected to sign the legislation soon.

"Now the resolution goes to the president, and we are confident that he will sign it, officially overturning this misguided regulation," said Kenneth Schloman, counsel for the Alliance of American Insurers (AAI), a trade association representing insurance companies.

AAI was part of the consolidated lawsuit against OSHA regarding the ergonomics standard. The alliance has advocated the development of individualized and voluntary ergonomics programs throughout the debate.

"This debate has served a useful purpose in helping to develop a consensus among businesses and insurers that an ergonomics rule with a different approach could be useful and appropriate in improving workplace safety," said AAI Vice President of Safety and Environmental Keith Lessner.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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