President Bush signed into law Tuesday a repeal of Clinton Administration regulations that set new workplace ergonomic rules to combat repetitive stress injuries. Bush said in a statement that the rules signed by former president Clinton were "unduly burdensome and overly broad."
"There needs to be a balance between and an understanding of the costs and benefits associated with federal regulations," Bush said. "In this instance, though, in exchange for uncertain benefits, the ergonomics rule would have cost both large and small employers billions of dollars and presented employers with overwhelming compliance challenges.
OSHA estimated that the new rules would have generated benefits of $9.1 billion a year for each of its first 10 years, and would have prevented 460,000 musculoskeletal disorders a year. The agency said employers pay $15 billion to $18 billion a year in workers' compensation costs as a result of such disorders.
Organized labor and many Democrats criticized the Republican-controlled Congress for repealing the Clinton regulation. The American Trucking Assns., however, was one of several lobbying groups that had been trying to get the rules overturned.
“In the absence of government regulation, the business of trucking has made significant progress on its own,” said ATA president and CEO Walter B. McCormick Jr. “This industry should not be penalized for its good-faith efforts by an unscientific, unfair and unfeasible regulation."
It was the first time Congress invoked the Congressional Review Act of 1996, which allows the body to overturn executive branch regulations, and Bush said the act was properly applied.