Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today criticized a partisan 217-209 vote last night that passed anti-worker legislation. "This bill," noted Pelosi, "prohibits the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from issuing rules and procedures to protect Americans, particularly women, from workplace hazards that cause a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders."
The legislation delays the scheduled release of new OSHA ergonomics standards until the National Academy of Sciences completes yet another study in 18-24 months. "Further delay delivers another insult to the American worker," said Pelosi. "We already have hundreds of scientific studies that demonstrate conclusively the tragic effects of ergonomic afflictions like carpel tunnel syndrome, repetitive motion injury, tendinitis, bursitis, and adhensive capsulitis."
"Every day of delay," concluded the San Francisco Democrat, "causes more pain, more days of lost work, and more costs to the American economy."
Ergonomics is the science of adapting a given workplace to the physical needs of its workers. A good example is providing telephone operators with headsets to eliminate the chronic pain and injury associated with cradling the handset to the ear. Repetitive motion injury develops when a worker repeats a specific movement hundreds or thousands of times a day. Each year, more than two million workers suffer ergonomic injuries and illnesses, and 640,000 of them lose time at work. The economy suffers to the tune of $60 billion in lost productivity and $15-20 billion in worker compensation.
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