I strongly support the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) historic and ongoing effort to protect American workers from workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA's draft ergonomics proposal provides sensible safety and health standards and would significantly decrease America's annual $15 to $20 billion direct worker compensation costs. For these reasons, I disagree with Rep. Blunt's proposed legislation that would unnecessarily delay OSHA's protections. I stand with the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the AFL-CIO, and many other members of the medical and labor communities in support of OSHA's protections.
I oppose the Blunt bill because it seeks to reopen an issue that Congress addressed last year, when, as a Member of the House of Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, I was pleased to offer the amendment on ergonomics which passed on the House floor. On October 19, 1998, Republican Appropriations Chairman Bill Livingston and Democratic Ranking Member David Obey agreed not to block or delay OSHA's standard (please see reverse side).
OSHA hired its first ergonomist in April 1979. This 20th anniversary is coming soon and waiting twenty years for ergonomics protections is too long. It is time for the Republicans to end their attacks on American workers and to allow OSHA to finalize this sensible ergonomics standard.
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