The Department of Labor's recently released draft outlining a new ergonomics standard is a strong step forward in its ongoing effort to protect American workers from workplace injuries. Each year, more than 640,000 Americans suffer from serious injuries and illnesses due to Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs ), such as those resulting from repetitive stress and over-exertion. These sensible safeguards will not only protect our workers from these painful and job-threatening injuries, but will also save $15 to $20 billion annually in direct worker compensation costs. I join with the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the AFL-CIO, and many other members of the medical and labor community supporting these protections.
As a Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, I was pleased to offer the amendment on ergonomics which passed on the House floor. However, the controversy continued until last October, when the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat of the Appropriations Committee reached agreement not to block or delay OSHA's proposed standard on ergonomics. Unfortunately, some Republicans are now ignoring that agreement. I will continue to work to ensure OSHA develops an appropriate standard that promotes the safety and health of America's workers.
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