On April 26 workplace safety activists, unions, and others will have another opportunity to speak to Congress about ergonomics when Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-PA), holds a hearing of the Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee on Labor to discuss ergonomics.
Specter, along with Sens. John Breaux,(D-LA), and Ted Stevens,(R-AK), last month introduced
legislation that directs the Secretary of Labor to issue a final ergonomics rule no later than two years after
the measure’s passage.
The hearing scheduled next week will include testimony from Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, as well as
experts from labor and business, including the AFL-CIO whose website counter contends that more than 175,000 workers will have sustained an ergonomic injury in the six weeks since the standard was repealed.
The BLS-based count increases by one every 18 seconds.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) will most likely also be in attendance.
The NYCOSH website(http://www.nycosh.org) reports Board Chair William Henning remarked: “Congress
could repeal the ergonomics standard, but that won’t repeal an ergonomic
hazard or prevent a single ergonomic injury. The toll of disabling ergonomic
injuries just keeps mounting up, increasing by nearly 5000 a day.”
“The standard could prevent more than half of those injuries,” Henning
continued. “As far as I’m concerned, the Members of Congress who voted to
repeal the standard should be charged with assault, because they said that
it’s okay for an employer to do nothing about an ergonomic hazard that is