Bush Cites Cost in Repealing Clinton’s Ergonomic Rules

From Associated Press

President Bush on Tuesday signed a bill repealing new workplace safety regulations, saying they posed “overwhelming compliance challenges” for businesses.

The measure, revoking rules issued late in the Clinton administration, was the first substantive policy Bush signed into law.

The rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were aimed at preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and other health problems associated with repetitive motion, awkward postures, contact stress and the like. If such injuries were reported, adjustments to work stations would have been required.


Businesses, which were given until October to comply, said the required changes would cost them as much as $100 billion a year.

Bush has asked Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to devise a cheaper way of addressing workplace safety.

The president signed the bill in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with only a few spectators on hand.

“There needs to be a balance between, and an understanding of the costs and benefits associated with, federal regulations,” Bush said in a statement. “The ergonomics rule would have cost both large and small employers billions of dollars and presented employers with overwhelming compliance challenges.”

Earlier Tuesday, Bush told women business leaders he was signing the legislation because it represented change “that I believe is positive.”

“The rule would have applied a bureaucratic one-size-fits-all solution to a broad range of employers and workers--not good government at work,” Bush said.


He held the legislation up as a victory for himself and the Republican-controlled Congress.