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Plan to Redo Ergonomic Rules Proposed

From Bloomberg News Service

A week after it canceled workplace safety rules, Congress is preparing to tell the Bush administration to rewrite them in a way that will please business lobbyists.

Sen. John B. Breaux (D-La.) has offered a proposal to require the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue revised rules to protect workers from repetitive motion injuries within two years.

Business lobbyists who last week fought to repeal the safety rules issued by the Clinton administration say a compromise can be found.

“Everybody is pretty receptive to what he’s talking about,” said Jack Clark, a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the national business trade groups that led the fight against the old proposal.

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Labor unions say they preferred the rules that the Clinton administration offered in November but consider Breaux’s move a positive step.

“Passage of the amendment would be a step forward,” said Peg Seminario, director of safety and health for the AFL-CIO, the world’s largest labor federation.

OSHA has been studying ways to prevent such injuries as carpal tunnel syndrome for 10 years.


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