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N.Y. County Law Governing Use of VDTs in Workplace Blocked

United Press International

A state judge Friday blocked Suffolk County from implementing a unique law regulating use of video display terminals in the workplace, prompting the Long Island county to appeal to a higher court.

State Supreme Court Justice John Copertino issued a preliminary injunction after lawyers for area businesses said that federal and state workers’ compensation laws already protect workers who use the machines and that there is no proof VDTs are harmful.

Within hours, the county filed an appeal in the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Brooklyn, said Dewey Lee of the county attorney’s office.

By passing the law, Suffolk County became the first county in the nation to regulate VDT use by private businesses. However, although the law was to have taken effect Tuesday, the judge’s action had no immediate impact because its most stringent requirements were not to take effect until Jan. 12.

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The injunction let stand the only portion of the law that was to take effect Tuesday--that companies with more than 20 video terminals pay 80% of the cost of eye examinations and glasses for those who work at VDTs more than 26 hours a week.

In dispute were the law’s requirements that firms give employees who work at VDTs a 15-minute break every three hours and provide lighting and seating in accordance with strict standards. However, those portions were not to take effect until January.

The suit, filed by ILC Data Device Corp., Lumex Inc., Micra Corp. and Applied Digital Data Systems Inc., contended that laws of counties and municipalities cannot supersede the federal Employment Retirement Security Insurance Act of 1974 and the state Workmen’s Compensation Law.


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