San Francisco Mayor Launches Computer Safety Law

From Associated Press

Mayor Art Agnos today signed the nation’s strictest law regulating video display terminal use by workers, despite a political rival’s last-minute charges that the ordinance is illegal.

The law requires 15-minute breaks and other safety measures, including proper lighting, anti-glare screens and adjustable furniture and equipment for VDT users.

Tom Hsieh, a city supervisor opposing the measure, charged Wednesday that the ordinance violates the city charter. But Jonathan Holtzman, special assistant in the city attorney’s office, said it clearly does not.

“I am gravely concerned that the city is about to enact a law that is extremely vulnerable to legal challenge,” Hsieh said.


Hsieh said a section of the city charter mandates that supervisors can’t make changes in working conditions for city employees until the city’s civil service commission makes various studies. But Holtzman said the section cited by Hsieh applies only to changes in their pay.

The law is to take effect in 30 days. It applies to employees of private businesses and city workers.

Opponents of the ordinance said the law would be so costly--an estimated $36 million to about $70 million citywide--that it could drive some business away.