On April 26, 2001, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao spoke before the Senate addressing the recently rescinded ergonomics standard.
In that testimony, Secretary Chao stated:
“The Department of Labor understands that there is some Congressional interest in
addressing ergonomic injuries through legislation. We ask for your patience. This is a
new Administration. We have made it our priority to review and understand this issue
by taking the time to meet with stakeholders, listen carefully to their concerns and
construct principles that guide us to a comprehensive resolution. While the Department
is making significant progress, it will take time for us to effectively complete our goal.”
It seems at least some initial timelines have now been set. Next week, the Bush Administration plans to publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing three public forums to be held addressing new ergonomics rules.
Secretary Chao plans to attend the first of these public forums to be held July, 16, in Washington D.C. Other meetings will be held July 20, in Chicago; and July 24, in California.
Topics of discussion are scheduled to include, the definition of injuries to be covered under any new regulations; how to determine if such an injury is work related; and what role and scope regulation should play.
Chao would like to see any action taken emphasize prevention, clarity, scientific basis, and cooperation with OSHA and businesses.