[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 147 (2001), Part 2]
[Pages 3055-3080]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 79, I call up 
the Senate joint resolution (S.J. Res. 6) providing for congressional 
disapproval of the rule submitted by the Department of Labor under 
chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, relating to ergonomics, and 
ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the Senate joint resolution.
  The text of the Senate joint resolution is as follows:

                              S.J. Res. 6

       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress 
     disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of Labor 
     relating to ergonomics (published at 65 Fed. Reg. 68261 
     (2000)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 79, the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner) and the gentleman from California 
(Mr. George Miller) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner).

                             General Leave

  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks on S.J. Res. 6.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Ohio?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring this matter of great importance to 
our economy to the floor of the House for debate. For the first time 
the House will act under the auspices of the Congressional Review Act 
of 1996. We do so because of the over-reaching ergonomics regulation 
finalized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration last 
  The ergonomics regulation has long been the subject of much debate in 

[[Page 3056]]

House. Yet despite the efforts of so many in Congress to get OSHA's 
attention about specific concerns with ergonomics regulations, the 
regulators have not listened.
  Well, contrary to the belief of many, Congress is neither a bit 
player nor an innocent bystander in the regulatory process. In 
considering this joint resolution, Congress will demonstrate that we do 
indeed read the fine print in the Code of Federal Regulations.
  Since the ergonomics regulation went into effect 4 days before the 
start of the new administration, I have heard from numerous companies 
and associations employing hundreds of thousands of workers. Each one 
has asked that the House pass a joint resolution of disapproval on this 
ergonomics regulation. And why is that?
  Not because they are anti-worker or opposed to safety and health 
protections in the workplace. Many of these employers already have 
their own well-established ergonomics programs in place. Now they find 
themselves confronted with an unworkable, excessive regulation that 
will create more problems than it solves.
  We will hear much today about the congressionally mandated National 
Academy of Sciences study on musculoskeletal disorders in the 
workplace. Let me make two important observations about that study. 
First, despite Congress' desires that OSHA wait until completion of the 
National Academy study before going forward with an ergonomics 
regulation, OSHA completed its ergonomics regulation without the 
benefit of the National Academy study.
  Secondly, while the study confirms that MSDs are a problem and there 
are ways to help alleviate them in the workplace, many of which are 
already being done by employers, the National Academy of Sciences study 
does not offer an opinion or endorsement of this ergonomics rule.
  Again, no one is opposed to providing appropriate ergonomics 
protections in the workplace. The Secretary of Labor has indicated her 
intent to pursue a comprehensive approach to ergonomics protections. I 
look forward to working with her and my colleagues on such an effort. 
But this ergonomics rule that we are debating today cannot stand, and I 
strongly urge my colleagues to support the resolution of disapproval.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 
  Mr. Speaker, the matter before the House tonight is nothing more than 
a frontal assault on the rights of millions of workers, millions of 
workers who get up and go to work every day and work hard on behalf of 
their employer and on behalf of their family so they can provide for 
their family, so they can provide a standard of living that they desire 
for their children.
  In the process of working every day, many of these workers suffer 
injuries to their hands, wrists, to their back and neck because they 
have repetitive motion in their jobs. Whether they are keypunch 
operators, whether they work in a warehouse, whether they work as a 
baggage handler or waitress or waiter in a restaurant, whether they 
work in a lumber mill or hospital, these workers suffer these injuries, 
some 600,000 of them every year.
  As a result of these injuries, these workers lose wages, they lose 
hours of work, they lose the ability to provide for their family. Some 
of them lose the ability to even ever go back to work, they are so 
badly damaged. But one of the things we know is that most of these 
injuries are preventable.
  The workplace can be adjusted. We see it all of the time, in the 
supermarket, in the offices, in the hospitals. We have made adjustments 
to try to protect these workers. But what this legislation does today, 
it says you cannot have this standard as a matter of national right. So 
if you do not have protection in that workplace, if you do not have 
protection in that State that is adequate, you do not get it now, 
because if we vote to repeal the standard that is now on the books to 
protect workers, we do not get to come back.
  I appreciate what the Secretary of Labor has said. But the law as 
written says you do not get to come back and write an equivalent 
standard, a standard that is similar to this, because then someone will 
take you to court and you will be violating the law. This is about the 
repeal of the protections of 6 million workers who go to work every 
  I do not know if my colleagues recognize them when the Fed Ex driver 
comes to their door. I do not know if they recognize these workers as 
the flight attendants who are wearing braces on their wrists. I do not 
know if they recognize them at Wal-Mart and Home Depot as they are 
wearing belts around their back, as they are wearing braces on their 
wrist because of those activities, but those are the people that make 
America go. The least they ought to have is protection against those 
damaging kinds of injuries. The least they ought to have is 
compensation to take care of them. And they ought to understand that we 
ought to be trying to improve these workplaces. When we do it, we save 
employers millions of dollars. When we do it, we keep workers from 
getting injured.
  But this now says that we are not going to have that as a matter of 
standard. This now says that we are going to take 10 years of medical 
evidence, 10 years of scientific evidence, 10 years of testimony by 
workers, men and women all across this country, about the damage that 
they have suffered and the manner in which it can be prevented. And in 
1 hour of debate tonight, we are going to throw that argument out. We 
are going to throw these standards out. We are going to take this 
protection away from America's working men and women. It is not fair to 
them. It is not fair to their families. It is not fair to the standard 
of living that they are trying to maintain.
  I would urge that we vote against this resolution.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Norwood), the chairman of the OSHA subcommittee.
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this quickly and make 
it very clear what this is about today. This is legislation that simply 
says a standard written by the Labor Department is very bad. It does 
not mean we cannot come back and have decent standards. But when we 
have one that is bad and wrong and it will hurt the workers and 
patients, then we should do away with it and begin again.
  I do not think this is an argument about science. The National 
Academy of Science has said, yes, there is such a thing as 
musculoskeletal pain. We all agree there is such a thing as repetitive 
motion injury and it can occur in the workplace. But it gets very 
cloudy at that point. It is not clear what they mean by that. For the 
record I will tell Members exactly what the National Academy says. They 
said this is a very complex nature of musculoskeletal disorder 
phenomenon and it makes it very difficult to regulate in the workplace 
with any precision. They go on to say that the common musculoskeletal 
disorder is uniquely caused by work exposures.
  I urge us all to do away with this rule.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to 
the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey).
  Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this joint 
resolution. Here we go again. This is yet another attempt to block the 
protection of the American worker from repetitive stress injuries. My 
colleagues, enough is enough. The science exists. The evidence has been 
gathered. The public comment has been heard. And frankly our 
experiences in our own offices confirms it. We will fight to keep these 
rules. We will fight for the American worker. We will fight for what is 
  Each year, more than 650,000 Americans suffer disorders caused by 
repetitive motion, heavy lifting or awkward postures that occur in the 
workplace. These disorders account for more than a third of all 
workplace injuries. Implementation of these rules would save workers 
and employers more than $9 billion each year and increase productivity 
and lower health care costs. We

[[Page 3057]]

must try our best to prevent these injuries. These are serious health 
problems and OSHA should be able to work with employers and employees 
to prevent and relieve them. It is time to stop these injuries. It is 
time to live up to our obligation to protect American workers. Vote no 
on this resolution.

                              {time}  1800

  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from North Carolina (Mr. Ballenger).
  Mr. BALLENGER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. 
Boehner) for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, throughout my tenure on the Committee on Education and 
the Workforce, I have opposed the costly and overreaching ergonomics 
standard that was finalized by the Clinton administration. I believe 
this ill-conceived regulation will have a detrimental effect on 
American business and its workers.
  This ergonomics regulation is very broad and presumes that every 
muscle strain and pain is caused by work instead of gardening on the 
weekend or playing football with friends. How can business correct or 
why should it be responsible for pains that do not occur at the 
workplace? How could business possibly be expected to control these 
  Last fall, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Owens) and I passed the 
OSHA Needlestick legislation, and it was bipartisan and bicameral. The 
difference between that legislation that we passed and this one is the 
fact that we targeted a specific problem and we solved it with a 
flexible solution that is endorsed by both employers and employees.
  This ergonomics standard, on the other hand, targets every motion of 
every work activity and gives no specific solutions. Not giving 
employers specific targets and solutions is unfair for both workers and 
employers. American workers deserve better.
  Even OSHA is projecting that this standard will prevent only 50 
percent of the problems it seeks to fix. However, that same regulation 
is estimated to cost the American business at least $100 billion. Why 
would one risk bankrupting business with a broad Federal regulation 
when many industries, such as poultry, have voluntarily implemented 
programs which have reduced repetitive trauma disorders to almost 50 
percent or 46 percent, in 5 years?
  I urge my colleagues to vote for this resolution. Let us protect 
American business and, most importantly, American jobs.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes 
to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Kucinich).
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I am glad my good friend mentioned 
business because from a business perspective this motion is narrow 
minded. A productive workforce is a healthy and skilled workforce.
  When workplace injuries cause workers to take time away, businesses 
have to train new workers and pay higher worker's compensation 
premiums. All of these costs will get higher and higher if this motion 
passes. That escalation will cut into productivity and render American 
business less competitive in the future.
  Beyond that, this motion will stop OSHA from protecting Americans 
against repetitive stress disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome and the 
physical injuries that workers sustain every day. Many of these 
millions are women. They are our mothers, our aunts, our sisters and 
our daughters.
  Each year 400,000 women workers suffer injuries from dangerously 
designed jobs. Sixty-nine percent of all workers who suffer from carpal 
tunnel syndrome are women.
  This motion represents a betrayal of promises made to the women of 
America. In 1998, the House Committee on Appropriations majority report 
stated the committee will refrain from any further restrictions with 
regard to the development, promulgation or issuance of an ergonomics 
standard following fiscal year 1998.
  The chairman signed and sent a letter reiterating that promise. What 
we have here are broken promises, broken bodies, broken faith in 
government. This ought to be defeated.
  Mr BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from 
Missouri (Mr. Blunt), the chief deputy whip of the House.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner) 
for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I am also glad to see the Congress using for the first 
time the Congressional Review Act. It has been very comfortable for a 
long time to not use this act. This act was not on the books until 
1996, and to say that we cannot do anything about regulation no matter 
what the cost, no matter what the cost to competitiveness, no matter 
how ill-conceived it is, no matter how unbased it is on true science, 
we could not do anything, has been a great excuse for the Congress to 
use for decades now.
  Many Members on the floor today voted in 1996 to give the Congress 
the authority to use the Congressional Review Act. My good friend, the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Kucinich), just said that this could not be 
addressed again.
  When we look at the legislative history of the Congressional Review 
Act, it is clear that this issue can be addressed again. In fact, the 
Secretary of Labor said today and earlier this week as well that she 
intended to start immediately looking at a more common sense way to 
really address these problems.
  The legislative history states that the same regulation cannot be 
sent back essentially with one or two words changed. It talks about not 
being able to send back similar regulation. When we look carefully, it 
is clear that we can send back regulations in the same area; in this 
case, regulations that still allow American businesses to compete, that 
ensure that we maintain jobs rather than lose jobs; that ensure that 
this set of regulations can be brought back in a much different and 
better way.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as 
she may consume to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Millender-
  Ms. MILLENDER-McDONALD. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this 
joint resolution on behalf of the women of the Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Joint Resolution which 
repeals a job safety measure under the Congressional Review Act which 
regulates the Ergonomics Standard. Every year, more than 600,000 U.S. 
workers suffer painful repetitive strain and back injuries on the job. 
These ``ergonomic'' injuries are caused by heavy lifting, repetitive 
work and poorly designed jobs. Ergonomic injuries are the biggest job 
safety problem U.S. workers face.
  As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues, I am 
particularly concerned about the disproportionate effect repealing 
ergonomics standards will have on women.
  Women workers are particularly affected by these injuries. Women make 
up 46 percent of the overall workforce, but in 1998 in fact accounted 
for 64 percent of repetitive motion injuries (42,347 out of 65,866 
reported cases) and 71 percent of reported carpal tunnel syndrome cases 
(18,719 out of 26,266 reported cases). There is strong consensus within 
the scientific community, based on an extensive body of evidence that 
the consequences of ergonomics-related illnesses are serious and must 
be addressed.
  Janie Jones told a group the carpal tunnel syndrome she developed in 
both her hands came after working in a poultry plant where she and 
other workers on the deboning line were expected to process 28 chickens 
a minute--some 1,680 an hour--with just a 15-minute break in the 
morning and one in the afternoon plus a 30-minute lunch break. This 
should be unconscionable here in America.
  Ms. Jones reported that even after having surgery to try to relieve 
the pain, it was still difficult for her to do housework and cooking. 
She said if OSHA's ergonomics standard had been in effect while she was 
on the deboning line, her hands wouldn't be riddled with crippling pain 
  Mr. Speaker, it is imperative to protect the ergonomics standard so 
that workers across this nation, many of whom are women, will have the 
opportunity to continue working in safe and productive environments.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to 
the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey).
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, this resolution is a disgrace. I do not agree 

[[Page 3058]]

every aspect of the rule that OSHA adopted; but if one disagrees with 
it, the proper way to change it is to have the Department of Labor 
propose changes, have an open hearing and comment process and then come 
up with changes to the rule.
  Instead, what this action does is it represents a blanket wipe-out of 
virtually every protection that workers have in this country from 
repetitive motion injuries. It was done without notice, without 
hearings, without consultation and without any spirit of compromise 
  If there is any remaining illusion in this House that the House 
leadership is interested in bipartisanship, this is exhibit number one 
in the fact that that is pure fiction.
  It is very easy for Members of Congress to vote to do away with these 
protections for workers because the only repetitive motion injury that 
Members of Congress are likely to get is to their knees from consistent 
genuflecting to every special interest in this country. But the real 
workers of this country, the people who work with the sweat of their 
brows, the people who lift weight that is too heavy, the people who go 
through motions that are too injurious over time, the people I meet 
every day in plants as I go through my district, those are the people 
who expect us to do our duty and stand up for them because they are too 
busy to stand up for themselves.
  Do what is right. Vote no on this resolution.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Iowa (Mr. Ganske), a surgeon in the House.
  Mr. GANSKE. Mr. Speaker, I am the only Member of Congress who has 
operated on patients with repetitive stress injury. I am a member of 
the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American 
Association of Hand Surgeons. I have taken care of hundreds of patients 
with these problems.
  There are thousands of hand surgeons around the country who share my 
views on this. I share, we share, OSHA's concerns about the health and 
safety of workers and are dedicated to help prevent workplace injuries. 
However, we believe that OSHA's new ergonomics rules are not founded on 
``a substantial body of evidence.''
  We agree with the National Research Council that we need a much 
better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the relationships 
between the causal factors and outcomes.
  This rule, in our opinion, could actually harm workers. For instance, 
OSHA describes ``observable'' physical science that constitute a 
recordable musculoskeletal disease. These signs include increased grip 
strength or range of motion. Any hand surgeon in the country knows that 
those are highly subjective findings. Truly objective findings like 
atrophy, reflex changes, electrodiagnostic abnormalities and certain 
imaging findings are not what precipitate the recordings. The MSD 
symptoms in the rule do not require those objective verifications in 
order to be ``recordable.''
  So, in my opinion, this places too much responsibility on the 
employer to make a correct diagnosis.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to 
the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney).
  Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, let us be clear about what is going on 
here. In the space of about 10 minutes, people that supported the 
Republican Party in the last campaign have gotten them to step forward 
and do away with rules and regulations that took some 10 years to 
devise and promulgate. We have had hearing after hearing, study after 
study, thousands of studies, all of which come to the conclusion that 
MSD injuries do happen in the workplace and are related to the kinds of 
repetitive practice that go on there and can be resolved with very 
reasonable solutions, reasonable efforts between the employer and the 
employee to resolve these situations.
  The rule is a very short rule, 9 pages. It is very clear. It is 
flexible, and if it were not flexible we would hear complaints about 
how it was too rigid and prescriptive, but it is flexible. The 
employees and employers can work out solutions to it in the best way 
possible, and it can happen and should happen for the number of 
injuries that go on year in and year out.
  For a few businesses that have this continued practice and refuse to 
deal with it, they have cast aside millions of workers and their 
problems. Let me say every time there is a regulation, we hear from 
industry how it is going to be the ruination of the industry.
  Back in 1995, the Office of Technology Assessment released a study of 
six OSHA rules. Every single one of them the industry said would be the 
ruin of business; but in the end, it turned out that they had 
overestimated the cost from between 50 to 300 times. In fact, in five 
out of six of those instances, the OSHA estimates were the correct 
estimates; or, in fact, they were overestimates. So that they were not 
as ruinous. In fact, they did resolve things to get people a better, 
healthier way of conducting their business.
  This is not a practice that should be condoned. We have a process. 
This process is being cast aside for purely political reasons in many 
instances. The fact of the matter is, the process worked. It was 
started by a Republican Secretary of Labor. The understanding has 
always been there that these injuries are harmful and can be resolved. 
It continues on now. As I said, in 10 minutes, they are being cast 
aside and casting aside millions of people who rely on this government 
and this process to find ways to make it safer for them to be at work. 
In the end, it is better for business.
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Oklahoma (Mr. Istook).
  Mr. ISTOOK. Mr. Speaker, I support this measure wholeheartedly. If we 
do not, what we have before us with the proposed regulations, those are 
the Titanic. It is headed straight for the iceberg. But before 
businesses have to abandon ship, before workers have to hit the 
lifeboats, we are stopping the engines. We are saying we are going to 
bring this thing to a safe halt and steer a safer course.
  The Secretary of Labor, the former Secretary of Labor, I had the 
chance to visit with last year about these provisions that they are 
proposing. They were going to hire 300 brand-new people, train them for 
30 days, hundreds and thousands of pages of these red-tape strangling, 
minute jargon regulations, and put them in charge of micromanaging 
businesses all across the country; millions of workers under the 
command of these brand-new government bureaucrats. That is a formula 
for disaster. That is a disaster that is not going to happen this time. 
We are going to stop this ship before it hits the iceberg and we are 
going to bring it home safely and it is going to be safer for the 
workers on board American businesses.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to 
the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Mrs. Mink).
  Mrs. MINK of Hawaii. Mr. Speaker, this legislation that we are being 
asked to vote on today is a piece of legislation which will actually be 
injurious to thousands of women all across this country. The women are 
the ones who hold down the lowest paying jobs in this country. They are 
the most that are on minimum wage, and they are the ones who are 
affected by the type of injuries that we are attempting to find some 
sort of protective safety regulations.
  All of us know when we deal with our own health, we believe that 
preventive measures are the things that are going to save our lives. 
There is no one here that would vote against preventive health 
measures, and yet today the majority of this body is asking the 
legislature here to vote against preventive worker safety legislation 
that will have the effect of saving tens of thousands of people from 
having to be laid off their jobs; lost productivity for that particular 
business. It just does not make sense.
  All this legislation is that the OSHA people are trying to advocate 
for is worker safety. Who can be against worker safety?
  There are thousands of people out there who have to go home, injured 
from their jobs, who cannot find a better way to save themselves 

[[Page 3059]]

their employers do not put into effect those measures that can save 
them from this type of injury. So it just is mind-boggling to me that 
the majority of this body is asking the Congress to eradicate the 
safety measures that have been put into effect after 10 years of 
careful consideration.
  This is not just an idle postponement or a moratorium. This is the 
finale. If we vote on this measure today, there will be no possibility 
for the Department or for OSHA or for anybody to come forward with 
regulations that will provide worker safety. In the name of preventive 
measures for the women of this country, I ask for a no vote.

                              {time}  1815

  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson), a fine member of this 
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for 
yielding me this time.
  I rise today in very strong support of the repeal of this rule and to 
point out to my fellow Members and Americans listening here tonight 
that the Employment Policy Foundation estimates that compliance costs 
alone with this rule will be about $91 billion. The rule itself and its 
explanatory information consume about 600 pages of fine print. Every 
small business owner out there who is listening ought to know what it 
looks like, because this is it. It will affect 102 million employees by 
OSHA's own estimates, and about 6.1 million businesses. It applies to 
any job that requires occasional bending, reaching, pulling, pushing, 
gripping; 18 million jobs, again, by OSHA's own estimates.
  This flawed ergonomic standard will interfere with State worker 
compensation laws. The one we have in Texas works very well. Under this 
ergonomic standard, however, which would interfere and preempt that 
State law, if a worker is put on light-duty work, they will receive 100 
percent of their pay. If they are unable to work, they will receive 90 
percent of their pay and 100 percent of the benefits. I urge the 
Members to adopt the repeal of this rule.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to 
the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), who has been fighting 
this long and hard for a number of years as a member of the Committee 
on Appropriations.
  Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, the 20th century began with Ida Tarbell and Upton 
Sinclair pointing out the dangers in the workplace to American workers. 
Here we are at the beginning of a new century much more enlightened, 
yet still debating whether or not we should protect workers.
  Let us not ignore this historical context. As we look with great 
embarrassment at the exploitation of workers at the beginning of this 
century, we must have a different start to this one. The new 
information technology has presented some challenges with many more 
people at keyboards, but science has given us answers.
  Today, the Republican majority is taking extreme measures to 
undermine the voluminous scientific evidence supporting a workplace 
safety standard. In prior Republican administrations, Labor Secretaries 
supported an ergonomic standard. Secretary Dole stated, ``By reducing 
repetitive motion injuries, we will increase both the safety and 
productivity of America's workforce. I have no higher priority than 
accomplishing just that.'' And Secretary Lynn Martin also reiterated 
her commitment in 1992 to an OSHA rule. Secretary Chao yesterday 
indicated her intention to pursue a ``comprehensive approach to 
ergonomics,'' her words. She said she would be open to working on a new 
rule that would ``provide employers with achievable measures that 
protect their employees before injuries occur.''
  Mr. Speaker, a vote on this repeal today would foreclose that option 
to the Secretary. She would not be able to do that. Only a vote in this 
body to sustain that would allow us to have those negotiations with the 
  The scientific evidence supporting a standard is extensive. The 
National Academy of Science, responding to conservatives and business 
groups, issued a report saying that the weight of evidence justifies 
the introduction of appropriate and selective interventions to reduce 
the risk of musculoskeletal disorders of low back and upper 
extremities. No wonder the Republicans did not want Members to have a 
briefing on that report.
  This disproportionately affects women. I urge my colleagues to vote 
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, just to set the record straight, the 
National Academy of Sciences does not support this standard in any way 
at all.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Mrs. 
Biggert), the vice chairman of this subcommittee.
  Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of S.J. Res. 6. I 
have absolutely no quarrel with the idea of OSHA or Congress writing or 
implementing an ergonomics law or regulation. What I do have a problem 
with is this particular ergonomics regulation. It is exceedingly 
costly, overly broad, and it wrongly presumes that every muscle strain 
or ache a worker suffers is caused by the workplace. For instance, it 
does not take into account personal attributes that may cause body 
pains such as obesity or age, nor does it anticipate the possibility 
that employees may actually hurt themselves outside of the workplace 
while skiing, playing basketball, or gardening.
  Here is what the Chicago Tribune had to say about the new rule: ``In 
short, they amount to a simplistic and expensive meat-ax solution for a 
complex scientific puzzle that researchers do not fully understand.''
  Workers do have legitimate claims to workplace-induced repetitious 
motion injuries, but not with this regulation.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to 
the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews).
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, we should oppose this resolution. When a 
woman stands at a supermarket checkout counter and when many women who 
stand with her get hurt, when there is a pattern of people getting hurt 
because the cash register is at waist level instead of higher up, and 
the evidence shows that one could spend a few hundred dollars per cash 
register and lift them up to chest level and people will not get hurt; 
and the evidence shows that by spending a few hundred dollars per cash 
register, we could avoid tens of thousands of dollars of health care 
and workers' comp claims, we think the law ought to say that the 
employer should have to do it. That is what this is about.
  This is a compilation of 10 years of research; it is an understanding 
that one-third of the workers' comp expenditures by insurers in this 
country pay for ergonomics injuries, and it is a cry for simple justice 
and common sense.
  Do not be fooled by those who say they want a better ergonomics rule, 
because if this resolution passes, there will be no ergonomics rule. 
This sends ergonomics to the death penalty, and it is wrong.
  Mr. Speaker, there are 6 million injured Americans who cannot speak 
for themselves tonight, but we, I say to my colleagues, can. The way we 
should speak for them is to rise up and vote ``no.'' Defeat this 
resolution in the sense of fairness and justice.
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Keller), a new and valued member of our subcommittee.
  Mr. KELLER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the joint resolution to 
disapprove the ergonomics rule. I would like to tell my colleagues why.
  This will cost businesses, large and small, approximately $90 billion 
a year, a $90 billion-a-year unfunded mandate on private businesses. 
Someone mentioned grocery stores a few minutes ago. It is also true 
that if a bagger in a grocery store lifts a turkey up and we are in the 
Thanksgiving season, that is 16 pounds, he is now violating Federal law 
in the minds of some OSHA bureaucrats because they think you

[[Page 3060]]

should not be able to lift anything over 15 pounds. We need a little 
common sense here.
  Now, should there be incentives for workplace safety? Absolutely, 
there should. We have that right now under workers' compensation 
insurance premiums. One small employer in my district who runs a gas 
station found his workers' compensation insurance went up $3,000 this 
year. Why? Because there was a serious workplace accident the year 
before. That is a pretty strong incentive to maintain a strong and safe 
  Mr. Speaker, we do not need to nationalize our workers' compensation 
laws. I ask my colleagues to vote ``yes'' and disapprove these 
ergonomics regulations.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Bonior), the minority whip.
  Mr. BONIOR. Mr. Speaker, the workplace safety standards before us, as 
we have heard, have been in the making for 10 years and, once 
implemented, would help prevent no fewer than one-third of all serious 
job-related injuries. That can help save our economy more than $50 
billion a year.
  Now, the people back home in Michigan would say, well, that is a 
pretty good bargain. And do my colleagues know what? They are 
absolutely right. Over the course of 1 year alone, more than 21,000 
workers in Michigan suffered from repetitive motion injuries severe 
enough to keep them away from work, and the cost to Michigan's economy 
in lost wages and productivity, about $2 billion a year. That is why 
there is only one issue in this debate. It is not whether we need these 
safety standards. It is who on earth would ever want to keep us from 
having them?
  Well, we know what that answer is. It is the same people, the same 
special interests who have opposed every other single worker safety 
measure to come before the United States Congress.
  Well, today we have an obligation to talk back to that special 
interest. Our message today is that too many lives have been lost, too 
many bodies have been broken, too many workers have been injured, too 
many lives have been ruined, and too many tears have been shed.
  Mr. Speaker, today our message is that American workers have a right 
to a healthy and a safe workplace and, by God, vote ``no'' on this 
resolution. Those who do not should and will be held accountable.
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Bonilla), my friend.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this 
resolution. Workplace injuries over the last decade in this country are 
down. Workplace injuries are down in large part because ergonomics 
rules are already in place at most of America's workplaces; and 
employers, believe it or not, do care about keeping workers safe and 
productive on the job.
  This is the copy of the new rule we are talking about showing up on 
the doorsteps of bakeries and of auto parts stores and small 
restaurants and grocery stores and dance studios and farms and ranches. 
Every small business employer in America would get this big fat 600-
page regulation to try to have them not only implement a policy, but to 
change a policy that is already working, that is causing workplace 
injuries to go down.
  Union membership has not asked for this. Small business in America 
has not asked for this. At town meetings that we have across the 
country, there is no request for this to show up on the doorstep of 
America's small businesses. This is simply a power grab by certain 
special-interest leaders in this country; and we will not name them, 
but we know who they are. They want this so they can have a bigger grip 
on America's small business employers. That is what it is all about.
  This, in itself, delivered to the small businesses in this country is 
enough to cause a workplace injury to the post office delivery people 
who will be sending this to small businesses across the country. And, 
by the way, the post office does not want it either. Nobody wants it. 
Why are we doing this? Thank goodness we have this opportunity to stop 
this and to watch workplace injuries continue to go down, because of 
ergonomics policies that are already in place in America's workplaces.
  Mr. Speaker, today we have a chance to show the American people whose 
side we are on. A vote for this resolution is a vote for small 
business, jobs and sound science. A vote against it is for one-size-
fits all regulations and government-knows-best bureaucrats.
  There are many of us who came to this body to fight for the driving 
engine of America's economy, small business. Small business produces 90 
percent of all new jobs in America. These are the people who work hard, 
people who are fighting for raises and better benefits, people who are 
creating higher-paying jobs in their community and expanding 
opportunity for people across the country.
  The Clinton OSHA ergonomics regulation has a mammoth price tag. And 
America's workers are going to foot the bill. OSHA itself is willing to 
concede a $4.5 billion cost to the economy. the food distributing 
industry predicts its initial cost would be upwards of 420 billion. 
Furthermore, their recurring cost could be 46 billion annually. And 
that is just for that industry alone. What does this really mean? It 
means fewer jobs and fewer opportunities for American workers.
  We all support safe workplaces. That is not what this debate is 
about. Let us review the statistics put out by the Clinton Labor 
Department. Workplace injuries are down consistently over the last 
decade. In fact, the injuries we are talking about today, repetitive 
stress injuries, are down 24 percent over the past three years. Grocery 
stores, bakeries, bottling companies, florists, computer 
manufacturers--all of those job creating businesses that are creating 
out tremendous economic growth have voluntarily dealt with this issue 
and it is working.
  Some have argued today that this resolution kills ergonomics forever. 
That is simply not true. Yesterday, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao 
stated that she intends to address the issue of ergonomics, if given 
the chance. Let's give her that chance to get the job done right.
  This rule is unprecedented in its breadth and unprecedented in its 
complexity. OSHA doesn't even understand it. The rule is already in 
effect and OSHA has yet to provide compliance guidelines to businesses. 
Unfortunately, they probably have not because they cannot. That
  I call on my colleagues to look at whose side they are on. There is 
no gray. I urge them to stand up for the people out there in the 
heartland who are working hard and want to keep doing so. I urge a 
``yes'' vote on the resolution.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman would have yielded, I would have 
pointed out he is not holding up the regulations at all, he is holding 
up the comments. The regulations is 9-pages long. It is not 600 pages, 
and the gentleman completely misrepresented what, in fact, he was 
telling the American public.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Woolsey).
  Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, before I came to Congress, I was a human 
resources professional in the electronics manufacturing industry, and I 
know from experience how important workplace safety is. Over 20 years 
ago, my company began seeing repetitive stress injuries because 
employees were using the same motions repeatedly to put parts in 
printed circuit boards. I have to say that the majority of those 
workers were women.
  So in response to what was going on out on our manufacturing floor, 
and those of my colleagues who do not think of OSHA as a friend might 
think this is weird, but as the human resources manager of this 
company, I called OSHA for help. We worked. They came and worked with 
us as partners and came up with a solution that reduced the injuries 
for our workers and saved a lot of money for our company.
  We knew that if we wanted to be successful, we wanted to protect our 
workers from the injuries that they were experiencing. If my colleagues 
want to know did this company become successful? Yes, indeed. This 
company became a Fortune 300 company.
  Mr. Speaker, workplace safety standards protect workers; they save 
business money. It is a win-win all the way around. It must not be 
repealed. Vote against this resolution, and vote for the protection of 
worker safety.

[[Page 3061]]

                              {time}  1830

  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would just point out that the regulation is 9 pages, 
and it is of great interest to me that OSHA took 591 pages to explain 
to us why this was a good rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
Manzullo), my friend.
  Mr. MANZULLO. Mr. Speaker, these OSHA regulations are very 
interesting. First of all, they do not apply to any Federal employees, 
and I would like to point out that one of the charts using the 
explanations here is that it is dangerous if you move your wrist more 
than 30 degrees 2 hours a day.
  This is an official chart here that points to people that move their 
wrists. Mr. Speaker, there are 281,000 restaurants in the United 
States. And I was raised in a restaurant business, and my brother, 
Frank, he still continues the family business. And this is how you wash 
dishes. You go like this. Sometimes it is 2 hours a day, sometimes 4 
hours a day. It depends upon the extent of the business. If business is 
good, you have more dishes to wash.
  Here is the problem: If somebody washing dishes has a problem with 
their hand and they go to the small employer, such as my brother, 
Frankie, who has 13 tables in his restaurant, this is what Frankie has 
to do, he has to adopt a program that contains the following elements, 
hazardous information and reporting, management leadership and employee 
participation, job hazard analysis and control, training, MSD 
management and program evaluation.
  The standard provides the employer with several options for 
evaluating and controlling risk factors for jobs covered by the 
ergonomics program.
  This is washing dishes. How else can you wash dishes where you cannot 
move your hands? That is the absurdity of these ergonomic 9 pages of 
regulations and hundreds of pages of attempted clarifications of them.
  To all the restaurant owners, to all the small mom-and-pops that are 
trying to eke out a living and to my brother, Frankie, with 13 tables 
and 13 stools at his bar and a handful of employees, he is going to 
have to put a sign that says dish washing is hazardous to your health. 
How else can you wash dishes?
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire of the 
Chair how much time is remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hansen). The gentleman from California 
(Mr. George Miller) has 11\1/2\ minutes remaining and the gentleman 
from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) has 13 minutes and 15 seconds remaining.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to 
the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt), the minority leader.
  Mr. GEPHARDT. Mr. Speaker, this is a sorry day in the House of 
Representatives, and what I am afraid is going to be a sorry week. Ten 
years of studies and work and comment are being swept aside with 1 hour 
of debate in our House of Representatives.
  This is not right, and it is not the right way to do this. It is not 
right for American workers who will be seriously affected and degraded 
by this decision that we are making tonight.
  Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand why we could not spend the last 3 
hours that we have been in this building at least on this floor talking 
about what went on over the last 10 years. We could not find it within 
ourselves in this House of Representatives to spend the last 3 hours 
when we were in recess to be on this floor at least discussing this 
  We know there is a disagreement about this, that is legitimate, but 
to not allow the Members of this House to be out here, when the law 
that calls for this procedure says that we are going to have 10 hours 
of debate, when we did not have another thing to do on this floor, to 
not allow this debate to go on is reprehensible. It sure is not 
  This is an issue that affects real people, people that work on 
computers, poultry workers, factory workers, and what we are saying is 
that the science says that these regulations are the right thing to do. 
We believe with all our hearts that OSHA and these kinds of regulations 
have not only helped the safety of our workers, but has saved companies 
money by preventing these injuries, and employers who have used OSHA 
regulations like these to their benefit have had a better bottom line 
than companies that simply blindly fight these things.
  This is a mistake. It is a mistake for people. It is a mistake for 
workers. I simply ask our friends on the other side who are running 
this procedure, please, the next time before my colleagues do something 
like this, they stop and think about what they are doing to the process 
of this House and, most importantly, what my colleagues are doing to 
the hard-working American people who are out there everyday giving it 
everything they have to make a living for their families and would like 
to be in a safe working environment.
  Vote against this bill. It is an abomination.
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Kentucky (Mrs. Northup).
  Mrs. NORTHUP. Mr. Speaker, I am angry, too. I am angry that we had a 
good idea in 1990 and 1992. Libby Dole and other Republicans encouraged 
an ergonomics standard, but what we have had over the last 8 years is 
an absolute tone deaf Labor cabinet that was going to pass a regulation 
without regard to how we best remedy the challenges that ergonomic 
injuries cause us.
  Mr. Speaker, give us good direction so that we can have both good 
jobs and also best effect in any injuries that occur in the workplace. 
It is hilarious to think that businesses are going to save money when 
we have runaway costs and you spend and you spend and you spend without 
any understanding of what you might be able to achieve and what would 
be cost effective.
  What happens when we do that? What happens right now in this country, 
where we fight everyday to keep our good jobs right here in this 
country, to keep them from moving overseas, the fact of the matter is, 
is that OSHA increases the costs of regulations. As OSHA increases 
costs without always knowing what the objective and the benefit will 
be, we make ourselves less able to be internationally competitive as we 
produce goods in this country.
  Mr. Speaker, what we have to do is be proud of the fact that the 
American workplace, which is the thing that brings us our prosperity, 
the thing that has built us a middle class that is able to buy homes 
and cars and go to work and provide for their children, that they 
depend on these jobs, and what they ask of us is for balance, to have 
regulations and government programs that make it possible to keep good 
jobs here and also make sure that we have healthy workers.
  The law of unintended consequences is going to go into effect if this 
rule went into effect. It would drive our best jobs overseas.
  Mr. Speaker, please, I ask my colleagues, let us have a real rule 
that really accomplishes what we want.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he 
may consume to the gentleman from Maine (Mr. Baldacci).
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from 
California (Mr. George Miller) for yielding the time to me.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition and say this should not be 
done in this way. As a restaurant owner and an owner of a small 
business in Maine, this is the wrong thing to do at the wrong time, and 
it is not thoughtful.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my opposition to the Joint 
Resolution of Disapproval of OSHA's Ergonomics Standard.
  Mr. Speaker, I am a small business owner. I understand the concerns 
of small business owners in my home state of Maine and throughout the 
country regarding the costs of implementing these new rules. 
Nevertheless, we must be proactive. Ergonomics is a serious matter and 
the new ergonomics standard will save businesses billions of dollars 
every year by preventing lost work days and workers' compensation 
claims. In 1998, more than 12,500 disabling injuries were reported to 
the Workers Compensation Board in Maine alone.
  True, the start up costs involved with applying the new standard are 
significant. But the

[[Page 3062]]

money we will save far outweighs the money we will spend. In a 
requested report to Congress, the National Academy of Sciences found 
that repetitive stress injuries in the workplace cost $50 billion a 
year in lost wages, productivity and compensation costs. It also 
concluded that injuries could be reduced by using new equipment and by 
varying workplace tasks. OSHA's new rule requires compliance with both 
of these recommendations. OSHA analysis shows that the new ergonomics 
standard will prevent 4.6 million injuries over the next 10 years. It 
will also save employers and workers $9 billion every year. Surely, we 
can agree that these numbers are worth fighting for.
  Mr. Speaker, I must also voice my disappointment in the decision to 
employ the Congressional Review Act to address this legislation. It was 
my sincere hope that the CRA would be employed only to address rules 
that a vast majority of members agreed simply got it wrong. This is 
certainly not the case here. Many of us agree that the new rules could 
be refined. But that is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath 
water, utilizing a process that will effectively preclude further 
action in this area. This is too important an issue to be taken off the 
table in a cavalier and partisan manner. I urge my colleagues to vote 
against the Joint Resolution of Disapproval of OSHA's Ergonomics 
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he 
may consume to the gentleman from California (Mr. Waxman).
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. 
George Miller) for yielding the time to me.
  Mr. Speaker, I strongly oppose the matter that is before us today.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my outrage over the Republican 
proposal to rollback important safety protections for American workers. 
For the first time in the history of the House, we are repealing 
critical protections for over 100 million American workers.
  The Congress has a responsibility to protect the safety and health of 
hundreds of thousands of workers--not the profits of big contributors.
  Today, I released a report with Representative George Miller on 
ergonomic injuries in California. This report makes clear that the 
repeal of the ergonomic rule will have a very real impact on California 
workers and the state's economy.
  More than one in four workplace injuries in California are repetitive 
stress injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome. In 1998, more than 52,000 
California workers suffered ergonomic injuries so severe they were 
forced to miss at least one day of work. Many of these injuries cause 
workers to miss significant time away from work. More than 30,000 of 
the injuries cause workers to miss more than one week of work.
  The economic cost to the state is enormous--$4.5 billion a year.
  The real numbers may be much higher. Many workers fail to report 
their injuries out of fear they'll be fired or branded troublemakers, 
and other workers only realize the extent of their injuries when they 
can no longer work.
  Today's LA Times tells the story of Gloria Palomino, who worked in a 
chicken processing plant for over twenty years. For most of her career, 
she shot an airgun into chickens on a slaughter line--squeezing the 
triggers 30 to 40 times a minute. As a result, her fingers are 
constantly swollen and sore and her injuries are so severe she can no 
longer work. She says, ``How I battle in the morning to open my hands. 
Tell me, who will hire me with hands like this?''
  The ergonomics rule came too late to help Gloria Palomino, but there 
will be many, many more like her if we repeal the rule today. I urge my 
colleagues to oppose this effort--which protects the profits of 
contributors at the expense of the health of America's workers.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes 
to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Owens), a member of the 
Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
  Mr. OWENS. Mr. Speaker, as the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee 
on Workforce Protections, the last 6 years I have lived with the 
hearings, the dialogue, the debates on this issue, and I do not want to 
repeat all of those technical considerations.
  I do want to submit for the Record a chronology of OSHA ergonomics 
standards preparations over the last 10 years. I have many extra copies 
if the majority wants them.
  We also have a list of the questions that we asked the National 
Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine to resolve. We have 
the questions that we posed to them, and we also have their answers.
  Earlier today the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) said that 
there was some disagreement with the notion that ergonomics was a 
legitimate cause of problems in the workplace, and he quoted 1 of the 
19. There were 19 experts on the panel, and one dissented. When you 
have a panel and one dissent among the people who are on the Academy of 
Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, then you have an authoritative 
  We ought to address the political problem here. Here is the real 
problem. Reinforced by an army of business lobbyists, the Republican 
majority has launched a blitzkrieg to obliterate the recently issued 
ergonomics standards by using the Congressional Review Act. That act 
was passed under the Newt Gingrich doctrine of politics as war without 
  This Republican offensive is more than one invasion of one theater of 
the war. This is just the beginning. By ruthlessly destroying the 
ergonomics standards at the beginning of this 107th session of 
Congress, the Republican majority is attempting to send a message of 
intimidation to all the working families of America.
  We will not be intimidated. We will strive to work for the families 
of America.
  Mr. Speaker, reinforced by an army of business lobbyists, the 
Republican majority has launched a blitzkrieg to obliterate the 
recently issued OSHA Ergonomic Standard by using the Congressional 
Review Act passed under the Newt Gingrich doctrine that ``politics is 
war without blood.'' This Republican offensive is more than one 
invasion of one theater of the war. The operation against ergonomics is 
also conceived as a master stroke of symbolic and psychological 
  By ruthlessly destroying the Ergonomic Standard at the beginning of 
the 107th Session of Congress, the Republican majority is attempting to 
send a message of intimidation, and to show that it will utilize its 
dominance of the political process in Washington to annihilate its 
perceived most formidable enemy--the organized workers in labor unions.
  Millions of victims and casualties who are not union members will 
suffer greatly as a result of this barbaric attack. The majority of the 
working families in America have at least one member who could directly 
benefit from the preventive measures required by the new Ergonomic 
Standard. They are the civilian casualties of this massive Republican 
  After an exhaustive two-year study at a cost of $1 million conducted 
by 19 experts in the field of causation, diagnosis, and prevention of 
musculoskeletal disorders under the direction of the Academy of 
Sciences, they found that ``there is a direct relationship between the 
workplace and ergonomic injuries can be significantly reduced thorough 
workplace interventions.''
  Mr. Speaker, earlier today, during the debate on the rule Mr. Norwood 
quoted from the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of 
Medicine's report. I would like to make very clear the fact that Mr. 
Norwood was quoting from the only dissenting view on the panel of 19 
  Here are the key findings of the study by the Academy of Sciences:
  The Problem. ``Musculoskeletal disorders of the low back and upper 
extremities are an important national health problem, resulting in 
approximately 1 million people losing time from work each year. These 
disorders impose a substantial economic burden in compensation costs, 
lost wages, and productivity. Conservative cost estimates vary, but a 
reasonable figure is about $50 billion annually.''
  The Cause. ``The weight of the evidence justifies the identification 
of certain work-related risk factors for the occurrence of 
musculoskeletal disorders of the low back and upper extremities * * * 
the panel concludes that there is a clear relationship between back 
disorders and physical load; that is, manual material handling, load 
moment, frequent bending and twisting, heavy physical work, and whole-
body vibration. For disorders of the upper extremities, repetition, 
force and vibration are particularly important work-related factors.''
  The Answer. ``The consequences of musculoskeletal disorders to 
individuals and society of the evidence that these disorders are to

[[Page 3063]]

some degree preventable justify a broad, coherent effort to encourage 
the institution or extension of ergonomic and other preventive 
  The Republican Leadership--once desperate to have confirmation of a 
sound scientific support for the ergonomic rule--is ignoring the very 
report it commissioned for a million dollars and instead plans to gut a 
rule ten years in the making. This action shows their contempt for 
millions of workers who want to work hard and stay healthy. And this 
action shows contempt for the findings of the nation's leading 
ergonomic scientists who have thoroughly documented the tragedy of 
ergonomic injury and illness. I am submitting for the Record the seven 
questions Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences and the 
answers arrived at by the experts on the panel.
  The strategy of the Republican war machine first seeks to crush the 
will of the opposition with its speed and overwhelming support from 
contributors. After the defeat of ergonomics, overtime under the Fair 
Labor Standards Act and the Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Law are the 
next targets with many other islands of labor law to be attacked and 
subdued on a great march toward the ultimate objective--``paycheck 
protection.'' The concepts of minimum wages and cash payment for 
overtime may be eliminated forever; or at least for the duration of 
this administration there will be a ``final solution'' for these 
longstanding objects of Republican contempt.
  The term ``barbaric'' is most appropriate for the description of this 
partisan onslaught. All logic, reason and science has been bulldozed 
off to the ditches. Primitive, brute political force has now 
overwhelmed ten years of scientific research, public testimony, 
empirical evidence and long debates, dialogues and policy 
deliberations. The attached chronology which ranges from August, 1990 
to January, 2001 presents a record of the most patient Democratic 
process possible; however, suddenly the troops are massed on the border 
and this time-honored process has been declared ``non-negotiable.''
  Barbarians often win battles; however, the working families of 
America are not without their own means of counterattack. We must begin 
today with a new campaign in a more direct language: an Ergonomic 
Standard means salvation from paralyzing injuries. It means preventing 
total disability of the muscles and joints needed to earn a living. 
Working families are the troops who must be made to understand clearly 
what is at stake today and in the weeks and months ahead as the 
Republicans march on to eradicate labor laws. Working families must 
also understand that in a war as vicious as this one that has been 
declared by the Republicans, there is no substitute for victory. 
Working families must mobilize to achieve unconditional surrender by 
taking control of the Congress in 2002; and by regaining the White 
House in 2004.
  Yesterday was Pearl Harbor for working families. We have nothing to 
fear but sluggishness, wimpishness and betrayal by the Benedict Arnolds 
among us. We have the votes and we believe fervently in the Democratic 
process. Reason and justice are on our side and we shall all experience 
our political VE Day. We shall overcome.

 Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Workplace--A Study by the National 
    Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, January 2001

                               APPENDIX A


       The questions below provided the impetus for the study. The 
     charge to the panel, prepared by the NRC and the IOM was to 
     conduct a comprehensive review of the science base and to 
     address the issues outlined in the questions. The panel's 
     responses to the questions follow.
       1. What are the conditions affecting humans that are 
     considered to be work-related musculoskeletal disorders?
       The disorders of particular interest to the panel, in light 
     of its charge, focus on the low back and upper extremities. 
     With regard to the upper extremities, these include rotator 
     cuff injuries (lateral and medial) epicondylitis, carpal 
     tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, tenosynovitis of the hand and 
     wrist (including DeQuervains' stenosing tenosynovitis, 
     trigger finger, and others) and a variety of nonspecific 
     wrist complaints, syndromes, and regional discomforts lacking 
     clinical specificity. With regard to the low back, there are 
     many disabling syndromes that occur in the absence of defined 
     radiographic abnormalities or commonly occur in the presence 
     of unrelated radiographic abnormalities. Thus, the most 
     common syndrome is nonspecific backache. Other disorders of 
     interest include back pain and sciatica due to displacement 
     and degeneration of lumber intervertebral discs with 
     radiculopathy, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis, and 
     spinal stenosis (ICD 9 categories 353-357, 722-724, and 726-
       2. What is the status of medical science with respect to 
     the diagnosis and classification of such conditions?
       Diagnostic criteria for some of the musculoskeletal 
     disorders considered to be work-related and considered in 
     this report are clear-cut, especially those that can be 
     supported by objective ancillary diagnostic tests, such as 
     carpal tunnel syndrome. Others, such as work-related low back 
     pain, are in some instances supported by objective change, 
     which must be considered in concert with the history and 
     physical findings. In the case of radicular syndromes 
     associated with lumbar intervertebral disc herniation, for 
     example, clinical and X-ray findings tend to support each 
     other. In other instances, in the absence of objective 
     support for a specific clinical entity, diagnostic certainty 
     varies but may nevertheless be substantial. The clinical 
     picture of low back strain, for example, while varying to 
     some degree, is reasonably characteristic.
       Epidemiologic definitions for musculoskeletal disorders, as 
     for infectious and other reportable diseases, are based on 
     simple, unambiguous criteria. While these are suitable for 
     data collection and analysis of disease occurrence and 
     patterns, they are not appropriate for clinical decisions, 
     which must also take into account personal, patient-specific 
     information, which is not routinely available in 
     epidemiologic databases.
       3. What is the state of scientific knowledge, characterized 
     by the degree of certainty or lack thereof, with regard to 
     occupational and nonoccupational activities causing such 
       The panel has considered the contributions of occupational 
     and nonoccupational activities to the development of 
     musculoskeletal disorders via independent literature reviews 
     based in observational epidemiology, biomechanics, and basic 
     science. As noted in the chapter on epidemiology, when 
     studies meeting stringent quality criteria are used, there 
     are significant data to show that both low back and upper 
     extremity musculoskeletal disorders can be attributed to 
     workplace exposures. Across the epidemiologic studies, the 
     review has shown both consistency and strength of 
     association. Concerns about whether the associations might be 
     spurious have been considered and reviewed. Biological 
     plausibility for the work-relatedness of these disorders has 
     been demonstrated in biomechanical and basic science studies, 
     and further evidence to build causal inferences has been 
     demonstrated in intervention studies that show reduction in 
     occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders following 
     implementation of interventions. The findings suggest 
     strongly that there is an occupational component to 
     musculoskeletal disorders. Each set of studies has inherent 
     strengths and limitations that affect confidence in the 
     conclusions; as discussed in Chapter 3 (methodology), when 
     the pattern of evidence is considered across the various 
     types of studies, complementary strengths are demonstrated. 
     These findings were considered collectively through 
     integration of the information across the relevant bodies of 
     scientific evidence. Based on this approach, the panel 
     concludes, with a high degree of confidence, that there is a 
     strong relationship between certain work tasks and the risk 
     of musculoskeletal disorders.
       4. What is the relative contribution of any casual factors 
     identified in the literature to the development of such 
     conditions in (a) the general population, (b) specific 
     industries, and (c) specific occupational groups?
       A. Individual Risk Factors
       Because 80 percent of the American adult population works, 
     it is difficult to define a ``general population'' that is 
     different from the working population as a whole. The known 
     risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders include the 
       Age--Advancing age is associated with more spinal 
     complaints, hand pain, and other upper extremity pain, e.g., 
     shoulder pain. Beyond the age of 60, these complaints 
     increase more rapidly in women than men. The explanation for 
     spinal pain is probably the greater frequency of osteoporosis 
     in women than in men. The explanation for hand pain is 
     probably the greater prevalence of osteoarthritis affecting 
     women. However, other specific musculoskeletal syndromes do 
     not show this trend. For example, the mean age for 
     symptomatic presentation of lumber disc herniation is 42 
     years; thereafter, there is a fairly rapid decline in 
     symptoms of that disorder.
       Gender--As noted above, there are gender differences in 
     some musculoskeletal disorders, most particularly spinal pain 
     due to osteoporosis, which is more commonly found in women 
     than in men, and hand pain due to osteoarthritis, for which 
     there * * * determinant with increased incidence in daughters 
     of affected mothers.
       Healthy lifestyles--There is a general belief that the 
     physically fit are at lower risk for musculoskeletal 
     disorders; there are few studies, however, that have shown a 
     scientific basis for that assertion. There is evidence that 
     reduced aerobic capacity is associated with some 
     musculoskeletal disorders, specifically low back pain and, 
     possibly, lumbar disc herniations are more common in 
     cigarette smokers. Obesity, defined as the top fifth quintile 
     of weight, is also associated with a greater risk of back 
     pain. There currently is little evidence that reduction of 
     smoking or weight reduction reduces the risk.

[[Page 3064]]

       Other exposures--Whole-body vibration from motor vehicles 
     has been associated with an increase in risk for low back 
     pain and lumbar disc herniation. There is also evidence that 
     suboptimal body posture in the seated position can increase 
     back pain. Some evidence suggests that altering vibrational 
     exposure through seating and improved seating designs to 
     optimize body posture (i.e., reduce intradiscal pressure) can 
     be beneficial.
       Other diseases--There is a variety of specific diseases 
     found in the population that predispose to certain 
     musculoskeletal disorders. Among the more common are diabetes 
     and hypothydroidism, both associated with carpal tunnel 
       B. Work-Related Risk Factors
       Chapter 4 of this report explores the enormous body of 
     peer-reviewed data on epidemiologic studies relevant to this 
     question. Detailed reviews were conducted of those studies 
     judged to be of the highest quality based on the panel's 
     screening criteria (presented in the introduction and in 
     Chapter 4). The vast majority of these studies have been 
     performed on populations of workers in particular industries 
     in which workers exposed to various biomechanical factors 
     were compared with those not exposed for evidence of 
     symptoms, signs, laboratory abnormalities, or clinical 
     diagnoses of musculoskeletal disorders. A small number of 
     studies have been performed in sample groups in the general 
     population, comparing individuals who report various 
     exposures with those who do not.
       The principal findings with regard to the roles of work and 
     physical risk factors are:
       Lifting, bending and twisting and whole-body vibration have 
     been consistently associated with excess risk for low back 
     disorders, with relative risks of 1.2 to 9.0 compared with 
     workers in the same industries without these factors.
       Awkward static postures and frequent repetitive movements 
     have been less consistently associated with excess risk. For 
     disorders of the upper extremity, vibration, force, and 
     repetition have been most strongly and consistently 
     associated with relative risks ranging from 2.3 to 84.5.
       The principal findings with regard to the roles of work and 
     psychosocial risk factors are:
       High job demand, low job satisfaction, monotony, low social 
     support, and high perceived stress are important predictors 
     of low back musculoskeletal disorders.
       High job demand and low decision latitude are the most 
     consistent of these factors associated with increased risk 
     for musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities.
       In addition, in well-studied workforces, there is evidence 
     that individual psychological factors may also predispose to 
     risk, including anxiety and depression, psychological 
     distress, and certain coping styles. Relative risks for these 
     factors have been generally less than 2.0.
       5. What is the incidence of such conditions in (a) the 
     general population, (b) specific industries, and (c) specific 
     occupational groups?
       There are no comprehensive national data sources capturing 
     medically defined musculoskeletal disorders, and data 
     available regarding them are based on individual self-reports 
     in surveys. Explicitly, these reports include work as well as 
     nonwork-related musculoskeletal disorders without 
     distinction; therefore, rates derived from these general 
     population sources cannot be considered in any sense 
     equivalent to rates for background, reference, or unexposed 
     groups, nor conversely, as rates for musculoskeletal 
     disorders associated with any specific work or activity. 
     There are no comprehensive data available on occupationally 
     unexposed groups and, given the proportion of adults now in 
     the active U.S. workforce, any such nonemployed group would 
     be unrepresentative of the general adult population. 
     According to the 1997 report from the National Arthritis Date 
     Workgroup (Lawrence, 1998), a working group of the National 
     Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 
     37.9 million Americans, or 15 percent of the entire U.S. 
     population, suffered from one or more chronic musculoskeletal 
     disorders in 1990 (these data cover all musculoskeletal 
     disorders). Moreover, given the increase in disease rates and 
     the projected demographic shifts, they estimate a rate of 
     18.4 percent or 59.4 million by the year 2020. In summary, 
     data from the general population of workers and nonworkers 
     together suggest that the musculoskeletal disorders problem 
     is a major source of short- and long-term disability, with 
     economic losses in the range of 1 percent of gross domestic 
     product. A substantial portion of these are disorders of the 
     low back and upper extremities.
       The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, while suffering 
     a number of limitations, are sufficient to confirm that the 
     magnitude of work-related musculoskeletal disorders is very 
     large and that rates differ substantially among industries 
     and occupations, consistent with the assumption that work-
     related risks are important predictors of musculoskeletal 
     disorders. BLS recently estimated 846,000 lost-workday cases 
     of musculoskeletal disorders in private industry. 
     Manufacturing was responsible for 22 percent of sprains/
     strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendinitis, while the 
     service industry accounted for 26 percent. Examining carpal 
     tunnel syndrome alone, manufacturing, transportation, and 
     finance all exceeded the national average, while for the most 
     common but less specific sprains and strains, the 
     transportation sector was highest, with construction, mining, 
     agriculture, and wholesale trade all higher than average. 
     These data suggest that musculoskeletal disorders are a 
     problem in several industrial sectors, that is, the problems 
     are not limited to the traditional heavy labor environments 
     represented by agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.
       The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) survey 
     data provide added information on self-reported health 
     conditions of the back and the hand. This survey presents 
     estimates for back pain among those whose pain occurred at 
     work (approximately 11.7 million) and for those who 
     specifically reported that their pain was work-related back 
     pain (5.6 million).
       The highest-risk occupations among men were construction 
     laborers, carpenters, and industrial truck and tractor 
     equipment operators, and among women the highest-risk 
     occupations were nursing aides/orderlies/attendants, licensed 
     practical nurses, maids, and janitor/cleaners. Other high-
     risk occupations were hairdressers and automobile mechanics, 
     often employed in small businesses or self-employed.
       Among men, the highest-risk industries were lumber and 
     building material retailing, crude petroleum and natural gas 
     extraction, and sawmills/planing mills/millwork. Among women, 
     the highest-risk industries were nursing and personal care 
     facilities, beauty shops, and motor vehicle equipment 
       Questions from the NCHS survey on upper-extremity 
     discomfort elicited information about carpal tunnel syndrome, 
     tendinitis and related syndromes, and arthritis. Carpal 
     tunnel syndrome was reported by 1.87 million people; over 
     one-third of these were diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome 
     by a health care provided and half were believed to be work-
     related. Tendinitis was reported by 588,000 people, and 28 
     percent of these were determined to be work-related by a 
     health care provider. Over 2 million active or recent workers 
     were estimated to have hand/wrist arthritis. The survey did 
     not report these conditions by either occupation or industry.
       6. Does the literature reveal any specific guidance to 
     prevent the development of such conditions in (a) the general 
     population, (b) specific industries, and (c) specific 
     occupational groups?
       A. Development and Prevention in working Populations
       Because the majority of the U.S. population works, the data 
     for the population as a whole apply to the 80 percent who are 
     working. There is substantial evidence that psychological 
     factors, in addition to the physical factors cited above (see 
     response to Question 4), are significant contributors to 
     musculoskeletal disorders. relevant factors are repetitive, 
     boring jobs, a high degree of perceived psychosocial stress, 
     and suboptimal relationships between worker and supervisor.
       The weight and pattern of both the scientific evidence and 
     the very practical quality improvement data support the 
     conclusion that primary and secondary prevention 
     interventions to reduce the incidence, severity, and 
     consequences of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace are 
     effective when properly implemented. The evidence suggests 
     that the most effective strategies involve a combined 
     approach that takes into account the complex interplay 
     between physical stressors and the policies and procedures of 
       The complexity of musculoskeletal disorders in the 
     workplace requires a variety of strategies that may involve 
     the worker, the workforce, and management. These strategies 
     fall within the categories of engineering controls, 
     administrative controls, and worker-focused modifiers. The 
     literature shows that no single strategy is or will be 
     effective for all types of industry; interventions are best 
     tailored to the individual situation. However, there are some 
     program elements that consistently recur in successful 
       1. Interventions must mediate physical stressors, largely 
     through the application of ergonomic principles.
       2. Employee involvement is essential to successful 
       3. Employer commitment, demonstrated by an integrated 
     program and supported by best practices review, is important 
     for success.
       Although generic guidelines have been developed and 
     successfully applied in intervention programs, no single 
     specific design, restriction, or practice for universal 
     application is supported by the existing scientific 
     literature. Because of limitations in the scientific 
     literature, a comprehensive and systematic research program 
     is needed to further clarify and distinguish the features 
     that make interventions effective for specific 
     musculoskeletal disorders.
       B. Development and Prevention in Specific Occupations
       Occupations that involve repetitive lifting, e.g., 
     warehouse work, construction, and pipe fitting, particularly 
     when that activity involves twisting postures, are associated 
     with an increased risk for the complaint of low

[[Page 3065]]

     back pain and, in a few studies, an increased risk for lumbar 
     disc herniation.
       The prevalence of osteoarthritic changes in the lumbar 
     spine (disc space narrowing and spinal osteophytes) is 
     significantly greater in those whose occupations require 
     heavy and repetitive lifting compared with age-matched 
     controls whose occupations are more sedentary. Despite these 
     radiographical differences, most of the studies show little 
     or no difference in the prevalence of low back pain or 
     sciatica between those with radiological changes of 
     osteoarthritis and those with no radiological changes. Based 
     on the current evidence, modification of the lifting can 
     reduce symptoms and complaints. Specific successful 
     strategies, which include ergonomic interventions (such as 
     the use of lift tables and other devices and matching the 
     worker's capacity to the lifting tasks), administrative 
     controls (such as job rotation), and team lifting, appear 
     successful. Despite enthusiasm for their use, there is 
     marginal or conflicting evidence about lifting belts and 
     educational programs in reducing low back pain in the 
     population with heavy lifting requirements. Some examples of 
     positive interventions include:
       Truck drivers--Vibration exposure is thought to be the 
     dominant cause for the increased risk for low back pain and 
     lumbar disc herniation. There are some data to support the 
     efficacy of vibrational dampening seating devices.
       Hand-held tool operators--Occupations that involve the use 
     of hand-held tools, particularly those with vibration, are 
     associated with the general complaints of hand pain, a 
     greater risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, and some 
     tenosynovitis. Redesign of tools is associated with reduced 
       Food processing--Food processing, e.g., meat cutting, is 
     associated with a greater risk of shoulder and elbow 
     complaints. Job redesign appears to reduce this risk, but 
     this information is largely based on best practices and case 
       7. What scientific questions remain unanswered, and may 
     require further research, to determine which occupational 
     activities in which specific industries cause or contribute 
     to work-related musculoskeletal disorders?
       The panel's recommended research agenda is provided in 
     Chapter 12 of the report.

                Chronology of OSHA's Ergonomics Standard

       August 1990--In response to statistics indicating that RSIs 
     are the fastest growing category of occupational illnesses, 
     Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole commits the Labor 
     Department to ``taking the most effective steps necessary to 
     address the problem of ergonomic hazards on an industry wide-
     basis'' and to begin rulemaking on an ergonomics standard. 
     According to Secretary Dole, there was sufficient scientific 
     evidence to proceed to address ``one of the nation's most 
     debilitating across-the-board worker safety and health 
     illnesses of the 1990's.''
       July 1991--The AFL-CIO and 30 affiliated unions petition 
     OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard on ergonomics. 
     Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin declines to issue an emergency 
     standard, but commits the agency to developing and issuing a 
     standard using normal rulemaking procedures.
       June 1992--OSHA, under acting Assistant-Secretary Dorothy 
     Strunk, issues an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on 
       January 1993--The Clinton Administration makes the 
     promulgation of an ergonomics standard a regulatory priority. 
     OSHA commits to issuing a proposed rule for public comment by 
     September 30, 1994.
       March 1995--The House passes its FY 1995 rescission bill 
     that prohibits OSHA from developing or promulgating a 
     proposed rule on ergonomics. Industry members of the 
     Coalition on Ergonomics lobbied heavily for the measure. 
     Industry ally and outspoken critic of government regulation, 
     Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), acts as the principal advocate of the 
       --OSHA circulates draft ergonomics standard and begins 
     holding stakeholders' meetings to seek comment and input 
     prior to issuing a proposed rule.
       June 1995--President Clinton vetoes the rescission measure.
       July 1995--Outspoken critic of government regulation Rep. 
     David McIntosh (R-IN) holds oversight hearings on OSHA's 
     ergonomics standard. National Coalition on Ergonomics members 
     testify. By the end of the hearing, McIntosh acknowledges 
     that the problem must be addressed, particularly in high risk 
       --Comprise rescission bill signed into law; prohibits OSHA 
     from issuing, but not from working on, an ergonomics 
     standard. Subsequent continuing resolution passed by Congress 
     continues the prohibition.
       August 1995--Following intense industry lobbying, the House 
     passes a FY 1996 appropriations bill that would prohibit OSHA 
     from issuing, or developing, a standard or guidelines on 
     ergonomics. The bill even prohibits OSHA from requiring 
     employers to record ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses. 
     The Senate refuses to go along with such language.
       November 1995--OSHA issues its 1996 regulatory agenda which 
     does not include any dates for the issuance of an ergonomics 
       December 1995--Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases 
     1994 Annual Survey of Injuries and Illnesses which shows that 
     the number and rate of disorders associated with repeated 
     trauma continues to increase.
       April 1996--House and Senate conferees agree on a FY 1996 
     appropriation for OSHA that contains a rider prohibiting the 
     agency from issuing a standard or guidelines on ergonomics. 
     The compromise agreement does permit OSHA to collect 
     information on the need for a standard.
       June 1996--The House Appropriations Committee passes a 1997 
     funding measure (H.R. 3755) that includes a rider prohibiting 
     OSHA from issuing a standard or guidelines on ergonomics. The 
     rider also prohibits OSHA from collecting data on the extent 
     of such injuries and, for all intents and purposes, prohibits 
     OSHA from doing any work on the issue of ergonomics.
       July 1996--The House of Representatives approves the Pelosi 
     amendment to H.R. 3755 stripping the ergonomics rider from 
     the measure. The vote was 216-205. Ergonomic opponents vow to 
     reattach the rider in the Senate or on a continuing 
       February 1997--Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) circulates a draft 
     rider which would prohibit OSHA from issuing an ergonomics 
     proposal until the National Academy of Sciences completes a 
     study on the scientific basis for an ergonomics standard. The 
     rider, supported by the new coalition, is criticized as a 
     further delay tactic.
       --During a hearing on the proposed FY 1998 budget for the 
     National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Rep. 
     Bonilla questions Centers for Disease Control head David 
     Satcher on the scientific underpinnings for an ergonomics 
     standard. Bonilla submits more than 100 questions on 
     ergonomics to Satcher.
       April 1997--Rep. Bonilla raises questions about OSHA's 
     plans for an ergonomics standard during a hearing on the 
     agency's proposed FY 1998 budget.
       July 1997--NIOSH releases its report Musculoskeletal 
     Disorders and Workplace Factors. Over 600 studies were 
     reviewed. NIOSH concludes that ``a large body of credible 
     epidemiological research exists that shows a consistent 
     relationship between MSDs and certain physical factors, 
     especially at higher exposure levels.''
       --California's ergonomics regulation is initially adopted 
     by the Cal/OSHA Standard Board, approved by the Office of 
     Administrative Law, and becomes effective. (July 3)
       October 1997--A California superior court judge rules in 
     the AFL-CIO's favor and struck down the most objectionable 
     provisions of the CA ergonomics standard.
       November 1997--Congress prohibits OSHA from spending any of 
     its FY 1998 budget to promulgate or issue a proposed or final 
     ergonomics standard or guidelines, with an agreement that FY 
     1998 would be the last year any restriction on ergonomics 
     would be imposed.
       May 1998--At the request of Rep. Bonilla and Rep. 
     Livingston, The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) receives 
     $490,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to 
     conduct a review of the scientific evidence on the work-
     relatedness of musculoskeletal disorders and to prepare a 
     report for delivery to NIH and Congress by September 30, 
       August 1998--NAS brings together more than 65 of the 
     leading national and international scientific and medical 
     experts on MSDs and ergonomics for a two day meeting to 
     review the scientific evidence for the work relatedness of 
     the disorders and to assess whether workplace interventions 
     were effective in reducing ergonomic hazards.
       October 1998--NAS releases its report Work-Related 
     Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Review of the Evidence. The NAS 
     panel finds that scientific evidence shows that workplace 
     ergonomic factors cause musculoskeletal disorders.
       --Left as one of the last issues on the table because of 
     its contentiousness, in its massive Omnibus spending bill 
     Congress appropriates $890,000 in the FY 1999 budget for 
     another NAS study on ergonomics. The bill, however, freed 
     OSHA from a prohibition on the rulemaking that began in 1994. 
     This point was emphasized by a letter to Secretary of Labor 
     Alexis Herman from then Chair of the Appropriations Committee 
     Rep. Livingston and Ranking member Rep. Obey expressly 
     stating that the study was not intended to block or delay 
     OSHA from moving forward with its ergonomics standard.
       December 1998--Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases 
     1997 Annual Survey of Injuries and Illnesses which shows that 
     disorders associated with repeated trauma continue to make up 
     nearly two-thirds of all illness cases and musculoskeletal. 
     disorders continue to account for one-third of all lost-
     workday injuries and illnesses.
       February 1999--OSHA releases its draft proposed ergonomics 
     standard and it is sent for review by small business groups 
     under the Small Business Regulatory and Enforcement Fairness 
     Act (SBREFA).
       March 1999--Rep. Blunt (R-MO) introduces H.R. 987, a bill 
     which would prohibit OSHA from using a final ergonomics 
     standard until NAS completes its second ergonomics study (24 

[[Page 3066]]

       April 1999--The Small Business Review Panel submits it 
     report to OSHA's draft proposed ergonomics standard to 
     Assistant Secretary Jeffress.
       May 1999--The second NAS panel on Musculoskeletal Disorders 
     and the Workplace holds it first meeting on May 10-11 in 
     Washington, DC.
       --Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) introduces legislation (S. 1070) 
     that would block OSHA from moving forward with its ergonomics 
     standard until 30 days after the NAS report is released to 
       --House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections holds mark-up 
     on H.R. 987 and reports out the bill along party line vote to 
     forward it to Full Committee.
       June 1999--House Committee on Education and the Workforce 
     holds mark-up on H.R. 987 and reports out the bill in a 23-18 
       August 1999--House votes 217-209 to pass H.R. 987, 
     preventing OSHA from issuing an ergonomics standard for at 
     least 18 months until NAS completes its study.
       October 1999--Senator Bond offers an amendment to the LHHS 
     appropriations bill which would prohibit OSHA from issuing an 
     ergonomics standard during FY 2000. The amendment is 
     withdrawn after it becomes apparent that Democrats are set to 
     filibuster the amendment.
       --The California Court of Appeals upholds the ergonomics 
     standard--the first in the nation--which covers all 
     California workers.
       November 1999--Washington State Department of Labor and 
     Industries issues a proposed ergonomics regulation on 
     November 15 to help employers reduce ergonomics hazards that 
     cripple and injure workers.
       --Federal OSHA issues the proposed ergonomics standard on 
     November 22. Written comments will be taken until February 1, 
     2000. Public hearings will be held in February, March, and 
       February 2000--OSHA extends the period for submitting 
     written comments and testimony until March 2. Public hearings 
     are rescheduled to begin March 13 in Washington, DC followed 
     by public hearings in Chicago, IL and Portland, OR in April 
     and May.
       March 2000--OSHA commences 9 weeks of public hearings on 
     proposed ergonomics standard.
       May 2000--OSHA concludes public hearings on proposed 
     ergonomics standard. More than one thousand witnesses 
     testified at the 9 weeks of public hearings held in 
     Washington, DC, Chicago, Illinois, and Portland, Oregon. The 
     due date for post hearing comments is set for June 26; and 
     the due date for post hearings briefs is set for August 10.
       --The House Appropriations Committee adopts on a party line 
     vote a rider to the FY 2001 Labor-HHS funding bill (H.R. 
     4577) that prohibits OSHA from moving forward on any proposed 
     or final ergonomics standard. The rider was adopted despite a 
     commitment made by the Committee in the FY 1998 funding bill 
     to ``refrain from any further restrictions with regard to the 
     development, promulgation or issuance of an ergonomics 
     standard following fiscal year 1998.''
       June 2000--An amendment to strip the ergo rider from the FY 
     2001 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill on the House floor fails 
     on a vote of 203-220.
       --The Senate adopts an amendment to the FY 2001 Labor-HHS 
     bill to prohibit OSHA from issuing the ergonomics rule for 
     another year by a vote of 57-41.
       --President Clinton promises to veto the Labor-HHS bill 
     passed by the Senate and the House stating, ``I am deeply 
     disappointed that the Senate chose to follow the House's 
     imprudent action to block the Department of Labor's standard 
     to protect our nation's workers from ergonomics injuries. 
     After more than a decade of experience and scientific study, 
     and millions of unnecessary injuries, it is clearly time to 
     finalize this standard.''
       October 2000--Republican negotiators agree to a compromise 
     that would have permitted OSHA to issue the final rule, but 
     would have delayed enforcement and compliance requirements 
     until June 1, 2001. Despite the agreement on this compromise, 
     Republican Congressional leaders, acting at the behest of the 
     business community, override their negotiators and refuse to 
     stand by the agreement.
       November 2000--On November 14, OSHA issues the final 
     ergonomics standard.
       --In an effort to overturn the ergonomics standard several 
     business groups file petitions for review of the rule. Unions 
     file petitions for review in an effort to strengthen the 
       December 2000--House and Senate adopt Labor-Health and 
     Human Services funding bill. The bill does not include a 
     rider affecting the ergonomics standard.
       January 2000--Ergonomics standard takes effect January 16.
       --NAS releases its second report in three years on 
     musculoskeletal disorders and the workplace. The report 
     confirms that musculosketetal disorders are caused by 
     workplace exposures to risk factors including heavy lifting, 
     repetition, force and vibration and that interventions 
     incorporating elements of OSHA's ergonomics standard have 
     been proven to protect workers from ergonomic hazards.

  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Cunningham), my friend.
  Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Speaker, in California we have an energy crisis. 
We have several small businesses going out just because of the costs of 
energy. We have restaurants that are on a very narrow margin. Those 
people employ workers.
  My colleagues that are opposed to this are generally from a liberal 
philosophy of government control. If we fall out of line like the 
blacklisting that the union, the Clinton-Gore administration, put out 
last year, then we can control you. We can control your private profit. 
We can control education. We can control your business. If you do not 
comply, yes, we will send in the IRS or OSHA or EPA, and what we are 
saying is that, yes, that my colleagues would make people think that we 
do not want workplace safety, we are for the evil business. That is 
just not true.
  We support the working families, and we want to give them tax relief, 
but my opponents, I would guarantee that over 90 percent of them that 
are opposed to this do not want tax relief, and they did not want the 
balanced budget and they did not want welfare reform, because they want 
government control.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes 
to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Roemer).
  Mr. ROEMER. Mr. Speaker, this issue is not new to any of us who have 
served in this body.
  The Secretary of Labor for President George Herbert Walker Bush, a 
lady I have a great deal of respect for, said we must do our utmost to 
protect workers from these hazards of repetitive stress injuries.
  We all know this is a problem. We are in our town meetings and our 
constituents come up to us with the braces on their arms. We have our 
case workers in our offices dealing with these issues day in and day 
out. Our workers are suffering.
  And more importantly, our businesses know that they have some 
answers, they are out there working on this. Mr. Speaker, 3M, a big 
American company, has had a 58 percent decrease in lost time cases, 58 
percent decrease. SunMicrosystems, a high tech company with repetitive 
injury claims, their claims went from $45,000 to $3,500.
  My colleagues might say businesses are doing it, but do not tell us 
to do more of it. President Bush is going to tell us to do a lot more 
testing, because it works in Texas. We are going to hear that. Do not 
give us that argument on our businesses.
  Finally, I have to say that we have been in this great Chamber since 
December 16, 1857, and had great debates, but today is one of the 
darkest days literally when the majority said they would rather have a 
dark Chamber than a Chamber filled with discussion and debate and 
differences. I hope we do much better in the future.
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, how much time is remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) has 
10 minutes and 15 seconds remaining, and the gentleman from California 
(Mr. George Miller) has 5\1/2\ minutes remaining.

                              {time}  1845

  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, just to keep the record straight, there is no doubt 
President Bush and Secretary Dole should be applauded for bringing up 
ergonomics in 1990, but there is absolutely no reason to suspect they 
would be for this rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Callahan).
  Mr. CALLAHAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time. I have been in meetings during most of the debate. But I did want 
to come to the floor and bring out one important point, and that is the 
impact of cost to small businesses in the event that this ergonomic 
thing is continued as proposed by the Clinton administration.
  Any small business person would tell us today that their number one 
problem is even securing workman's compensation. It is very seldom that 
any major insurance company will insure any business for a period 
longer than 3

[[Page 3067]]

years. They come in, and they give one a rate that seems reasonable. 
Two years later, they raise that. Three years, they raise it out of the 
possibility of affordability by small business.
  So I encourage my colleagues to think what is going to happen. 
Workman's compensation is going to at least double in cost to small 
business people, if, indeed, they can get it at all. There is a 
possibility, because of the extreme changes in coverage as proposed 
under this regulation, that it could even triple.
  So when my colleagues are back in their district, think about 
addressing these small business people who are having to pay these 
exorbitant costs now, and think about the impact that it is going to 
cause if, indeed, we do not repeal this through this effort today.
  So I plead with my colleagues to recognize what they are doing to 
small business people. We all are concerned about all workers. We all 
want them to have coverage. But if my colleagues put workman's 
compensation out of affordability range, they are doing a great 
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he 
may consume to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Baird).
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this legislation. It is bad 
for workers. It is bad for America.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the Disapproval 
Resolution for OSHA Ergonomics Rule, which threatens the health and 
safety of our nation's workforce.
  Each year, more than 650,000 American workers suffer from work 
related musculoskeletal disorders caused by repetitive motion and 
  These are hardly minor aches and pains. These are serious, disabling 
conditions that have extensive impacts on workers' lives, and are 
estimated to cost the American public something in the realm of $40-$50 
billion a year.
  The lives of workers who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, 
tendinitis, back injuries or other similar injuries, as a result of 
unsafe workplace conditions, are changed forever.
  Frequently, they lose their jobs, become permanently unemployed, or 
are forced to take severe pay cuts to continue working. These injuries 
destroy lives and they destroy families--and it's simply unacceptable.
  I want to emphasize to my colleagues that, as a scientist and a 
clinician, I am dogged in demanding strong, peer-reviewed science in 
making important public health decisions.
  OSHA's ergonomics standard, issued on November 14, 2000, is 
critically important to working men and women. The standard is based on 
voluminous evidence, sound science and good employer practices and 
should not be repealed. This rule may not be perfect, but I can tell 
you that this rule is far better than the alternative.
  This is a common sense measure to help prevent the suffering of 
American workers, while at the same time saving the American taxpayers 
billions of dollars.
  I urge my colleagues to resist efforts to repeal this vital worker 
safety rule--and to oppose this resolution that prevents OSHA from 
implementing an ergonomic standard.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro).
  Ms. DELAURO. Mr. Speaker, every year, millions of hard-working 
Americans are injured on the job, men and women who do not have anyone 
looking out for them. They work two jobs, three jobs. Many do not have 
health insurance. Many make the minimum wage. They are meat packers, 
poultry workers, cashiers, assembly line workers, sewing machine 
operators. My mother was a sewing machine operator.
  They do the jobs that Members of Congress do not want to do. They are 
the face that the Republican leadership today does not want us to see. 
They are the ones who will pay with their livelihood when we roll back 
these workplace safety rules.
  In Connecticut, over 11,000 workers suffered workplace injuries in 
1998. They were forced to miss one day of work. The cost to 
Connecticut's economy was $1 billion a year.
  The President, the Republican leadership have decided that these 
workers do not deserve basic protections. The Wall Street Journal told 
us why yesterday. They said that the big industries that bankrolled the 
Bush campaign have now lined up looking for, and I quote, a return on 
their investment. That is what this is all about today. That is why we 
are rolling back worker-safety laws.
  Stand with the people of America and not with the special interests. 
Vote against this bill today.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Arizona (Mr. Flake).
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, it is not often that one gets to go to the 
House floor and actually vote on substantive legislation that will roll 
back regulation. It is equally a rare opportunity to stand and commend 
the Senate for doing the right thing before we get here. Today we get 
to do both. I appreciate this opportunity.
  I stand in strong support of this legislation. There is never a good 
time to saddle business with the costs that this will saddle them with. 
Today and this time is a particularly bad time given the soft economy.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, if I might inquire as 
to how much time we have remaining.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hansen). The gentleman from California 
(Mr. George Miller) has 4\1/2\ minutes remaining. The gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Boehner) has 8 minutes remaining.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Sanchez).
  Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Speaker, how many more people must be hurt before 
this Congress does what is right? Obviously, there are over 600,000 
workers a year who get hurt because of ergonomic problems.
  If we pass this resolution today, we are effectively saying we know 
one might get hurt and have injuries that last a long time, but we do 
not care. I am not willing to make that statement today.
  This standard will help countless nurses, clerks, laborers, and, yes, 
factory workers. Factory workers like Ignacio Sanchez, my father, who 
worked for 40 years in the factory because he had to support seven 
children. These are the type of people my colleagues hurt today by 
passing this resolution.
  The problem with the resolution is that it would not only revoke the 
current ergonomic standards, but it would prevent the Department of 
Labor from issuing future general standards. How can Congress prepare 
to debate a tax bill for the rich and yet hurt the working people of 
America? I ask my colleagues to vote against this resolution.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Norwood), chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce 
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I would like to make it very clear to my 
friends on the other side of the aisle, as chairman of the Subcommittee 
on Workforce Protections, I care about the health and safety of workers 
just as much as they do. But this is a very bad rule coming from OSHA 
that could, indeed, hurt those same workers they want to protect.
  Let us just take one simple hypothetical. Let us say an employee 
hurts themselves playing softball. They know that, under this 
regulation, if they claim this musculoskeletal disorder and can blame 
it on the work force, then they can take 90 days off with 90 percent of 
their pay. The injured patient then gets to the doctor and gets the 
doctor to say this softball accident really is work related. The 
employers call the doctor and say, wait a minute, this MSD was caused 
by playing softball. I know that. Two or three of our employees saw it. 
The doctor says, sorry, I cannot talk to you about this. It is against 
the law.
  The OSHA SWAT team then comes in and says you have one MSD patient, 
you have one, therefore, you must make changes in your workplace, 
costing thousands of dollars for small businesses and perhaps millions 
for big businesses. Plus, you pay them 90 percent of the salary for 90 
  This can force small businesses to go out of business when their 
workman's compensation premiums double with all the other additional 
expenses one adds on top of it.

[[Page 3068]]

  Mr. Speaker, I want to hear OSHA explain to me how they are going to 
enforce these new ergonomic rules in the textile plants of Mexico and 
China. It seems we have trade agreements that allow these countries 
access to our textile market, so it would only be fair that those 
Mexican and Chinese mills should have to comply with these rules the 
same as American textile mills.
  We do not at present require Mexican and Chinese friends to comply 
with the minimum wage. So it concerns me that OSHA is planning to let 
them off the hook on ergonomics as well.
  I also want to see the OSHA plan for enforcement of these new 
ergonomic standards for the Canadian lumber industry. Under these new 
rules, it looks like it might be illegal for a logger to pick up a 
chain saw. I really want to know if our Canadian friends will have to 
operate under the same restrictions that we are.
  See, my district has lost hundreds of jobs in the past few months to 
subsidized Canadian timber prices, while we have all but kicked our 
loggers out of the National Forests.
  Now, I also have an even trickier question. When Mexican and Canadian 
truckers come driving their loads of textiles and logs down our 
interstate highways as called for by NAFTA, is OSHA going to enforce 
the same ergonomic standards on them as they do our Teamsters?
  Mr. Speaker, every Member of this House and every union worker in 
America needs to recognize a terrifying reality about the 
implementation of these standards. These new rules include a total 
labor of compliance for every corporation who will move U.S. jobs 
across our northern and southern borders out of this country. Mr. 
Speaker, it appears our workers may face more of a danger from new OSHA 
regulations than they ever would from repetitive motions.
  I urge rejection, I urge us all to disagree with this standard 
wholeheartedly. It is as bad as the one this House let the Labor 
Department pass 9 or 10 years ago on the blood-borne pathogen standard. 
I know how bad that one was because, in my other life, I had to live 
under that nonsense.
  Please do not allow them to get away with this again. Let us come 
back and write real standards.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), a member of the Committee on 
Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and 
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Speaker, on whatever side of the issue, we all ought to be 
against this legislation on the floor today. To the new Members who 
come here, did they come here expecting to have no hearings, no 
consideration, no full debate on issues of consequence to hundreds of 
thousands and, yes, millions of Americans? Is that how we are going to 
run the House of Representatives? Is that the responsibility we owe in 
a democracy?
  The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) has been rolled on the 
Patients' Bill of Rights by his own leadership? Why do we come to the 
floor rolling us once again, and when I say ``us,'' not the Democrats 
and Republicans in the House of Representatives, but the thousands of 
people who might just want to come here and tell us how they believe, 
what they think, what their perceptions are.
  The gentleman from Georgia (Chairman Norwood) said this, ``No reason 
to believe they,'' speaking of Libby Dole and George Bush, ``would be 
for this legislation.'' Of course there is no reason to believe, 
because we have not asked them. We have not asked any American to come 
in and tell us what should we do. That is not the way to legislate.
  Reject this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, the final Workplace Safety Standard issued by the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration on November 14, 2000, was 
the result of a 10-year public process initiated in 1990 by Secretary 
of Labor, Elizabeth Dole.
  Use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Workplace Safety 
Standard is an extreme measure. Not only would it represent the first 
vote ever in Congress to take away a public health and safety 
protection, but it would also prevent OSHA from ever issuing other 
important worker health and safety measures.
  Each year, U.S. workers experience 1.8 million work-related 
repetitive stress disorders. And every year 600,000 workers in America 
lose time from work because of repetitive motion, back and other 
disabling injuries.
  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34 percent of all lost 
workday injuries are related to repetitive stress injuries. These 
injuries are often extremely painful and disabling; sometimes they are 
  Last year the Department of Labor estimated that the workplace safety 
rule would prevent about 300,000 injuries per year, and save $9 billion 
in workers compensation and related costs.
  Due to riders and similar block-at-all costs tactics since 1995, the 
delay in implementing this rule cost $45 billion in workers' 
compensation and related costs, and allowed 1.5 million painful and 
disabling injuries that could have been prevented.
  The problems are real, but so are the solutions. The time for delay 
is past.
  The time to act is now. American's workers can't afford to wait.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the joint resolution of 
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to 
the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman).
  Mr. ROTHMAN. Mr. Speaker, these workplace safety standards were not 
developed over night. They were discussed under a Republican 
administration. It took thousands and thousands of comments, 7,000 
written comments. One thousand individuals came to hearings across the 
Nation. They were not developed overnight.
  As a result, these regulations were promulgated, put forth, only nine 
pages to protect American workers. They have not even been put into 
effect yet. The Republican majority today, and President George W. 
Bush, want to throw out these workplace safety regulations before they 
have even been put into effect after 10 years of discussion and work. 
Vote no on this rule.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Norwood).
  Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to tell the gentleman from Maryland 
(Mr. Hoyer) I do not look like I have been rolled, and I do not feel 
like I have been rolled; and we will get a patients protection bill 
out. But it will not do any good if my colleagues allow this standard 
to go through that OSHA is trying to put down on us.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to 
the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell).
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, to my friend from Florida, some companies 
do help the employees and workers and some do not. That is why we have 
Federal legislation.
  The young lady sitting to my left, this hard-working young lady, is 
relieved every 15 minutes, is replaced. She goes downstairs and 
  So while someone just said that OSHA does not cover Federal 
employees, executive orders cover Federal employees. Know the law. Know 
the law right under our noses.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to 
the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, this is a direct attack on the 
separation of powers. It certainly is amazing to me that my colleagues 
have not taken the time to go and see what it is to be in the poultry 
factory, plucking legs and wings day after day and time after time, or 
being a high-tech worker. What an irony, it has taken 10 years to do 
this; and overnight, in 5 minutes, we are throwing it out.

                              {time}  1900

  But the main point my colleagues have missed is it is the employer 
that decides whether or not the worker is injured, not anybody else. My 
colleagues are in fact asking America to

[[Page 3069]]

suffer injury, if this is the legislative process of this House. If 
there is any mercy, mercy on the American people. Mercy on the American 
people. This is a disgrace. Vote against it.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition of S.J. Res. 6, Disapproving 
Resolution for the OSHA Ergonomics Rule. The resolution being 
considered by the House today will adversely affect the American 
worker's right to be properly compensated when injured on the job. I 
vehemently oppose this action to repeal the Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration (OSHA) regulations regarding the ergonomics rule.
  Under current law, Congress may repeal an agency's regulation by 
enacting a resolution of disapproval within 60 days of the rule being 
promulgated. S.J. Res. 6 disapproves the rule issued by OSHA of the 
Labor Department regarding repetitive-stress injuries and provides that 
the rule, announced in November, shall have no force, effectively 
repealing it.
  The regulation addressed by this disapproval resolution was issued in 
the final days of the Clinton Administration by (OSHA) to prevent 
repetitive-stress injuries. Since the appropriations act for FY 2001 
was not enacted by last November, the Clinton administration was given 
an opportunity to promulgate a final ergonomics rule.
  The rule, promulgated last November by OSHA, generally covers all 
workers, except those in construction, maritime, railroad or 
agriculture, who are covered by other protections. The rule requires 
employers to distribute to their employees information about 
musculosketal disorders (MDSs) and their symptoms. The OSHA rule that 
the resolution disapproves took effect January 16, 2001, but most of 
the requirements of the rule are not scheduled to be enforced until 
October 15, 2001. Employers must also respond to employees' reports of 
MSDs, or symptoms of MSDs, by this date.
  The rule requires--and for good reason--to take action to address 
MSDs and ergonomic hazards when an employee reports a work-related MSD 
and has significant exposure to ergonomics risk factors. Under the 
rule, it is the employer who determines if the MSD is work-related; if 
it requires days away from work, restricted work, or medical treatment 
beyond first aid; and if it involves signs or symptoms that last seven 
consecutive days after the employee reports them to the employer.
  The employer must do a quick check to assess whether the employee is 
exposed to ergonomics risk factors, including repetition, force, 
awkward postures, contact stress and hand-arm vibration. The rule would 
allow workers to finally receive the compensation they deserve.
  S.J. Res. 6 would effectively dismantle an effective solution to the 
most important safety and health problems that workers face today. The 
procedure being used to overturn the rule prevents any kind of reasoned 
debate about the merits of the ergonomics rule.
  Let's look at the facts. Workplace practices cause millions of 
ergonomics injuries each year. OSHA's rule will prevent more than 4.6 
million of these injuries in the first ten years and will benefit more 
than 100 million workers throughout the nation.
  OSHA estimates that the ergonomics standard will cost American 
businesses $4.5 billion annually. But it will also save businesses $9.1 
billion in worker's compensation costs and lost productivity each year. 
This is an economic argument often forgotten.
  The current ergonomics standard is the long-awaited result of a 10-
year process begun by former Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole. This 
resolution is being considered under a procedure that prevents reasoned 
consideration of the merits of this ergonomics rule and prohibits 
amendments to that rule. The resolution was rushed through the Senate 
and was abruptly added to the House schedule by the GOP leadership--
without adequate notice usually given to such important measures.
  The recent National Academy of Sciences study proves conclusively 
that workplace practices cause ergonomics injuries and that ergonomics 
programs work to prevent and limit these types of injuries. This study 
simply confirms the results of numerous previous studies.
  Mr. Speaker, if there are problems with the ergonomics rule, we 
should make changes to address those problems. But such changes could 
be made administratively--without throwing out the entire rule and, 
with it, any debilitating ergonomic injuries. Let us pause for a moment 
and remind ourselves of our obligation to provide full compensation of 
workers' injuries. I urge my colleagues to oppose the resolution.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I said earlier this evening this was an assault on the 
American worker, and it is; but it is also an insult to the American 
worker that earlier today, rather than extend the debate so we could 
discuss the facts, so we could debate it back and forth, the House 
chose to rather stand in recess than have a debate in the people's 
  When we asked for a hearing in committee, there was no hearing 
forthcoming in the committee. When the Committee on Appropriations 
asked for a hearing, there was no hearing. Yet for years the 
Republicans have stalled this regulation by saying they wanted more 
evidence, they wanted additional studies. They stalled it right up 
until the last days of the Clinton administration. And then when 
President Clinton issued this regulation in the last days of his 
administration, they said, How could he do this at the last minute? 
Because they had been stalling him for 6 and 7 years to promulgate this 
regulation. This is like the people who kill their parents and then ask 
mercy from the court because they are orphans.
  It is no wonder this regulation has been stalled. And now when it is 
finally in place to protect the American workers, they insult the 
American workers by overturning it in 1 hour.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, this really is a historic day in the people's House. 
This is the first time that the Congressional Review Act of 1996 is 
actually working its way through Congress and for the first time in the 
10-plus years that I have been a Member of Congress that the Congress 
has stood up to the bureaucracy.
  Yes, the gentleman from California is right, there are nine pages of 
regulations; but it took OSHA 600 pages to try to explain this to 
American businesses. And it would take any business owner in America a 
lawyer, a lawyer, to read through this to figure out exactly under what 
conditions the employer had to live by this regulation.
  Now, we have heard a lot of debate today about the fact there is only 
1 hour that we are going to have this discussion today. Now, all of the 
Members who have been here, more than those who were just here the last 
month and a half, know that we have debated this issue for 10 years; 
and for the last 6 or 7 years we have voted, the Congress, every year, 
to stop this and told OSHA to go back and take a look at it because it 
is too broad, it is too complicated, and it is too excessive on 
American workers and the people that they work for.
  And what happened? The bureaucracy never listened. OSHA continued 
down their path of trying to shove this down the throats of the 
American people. This Congress today is standing up, finally, to the 
bureaucracy and saying, enough is enough; it is time to do something 
reasonable or not do it at all.
  Now, why do I get a little excited about this? Well, let us go back. 
Let us go back to October when Congress voted again to make sure that 
this study did not go into effect. Four days after the election, the 
Clinton administration and OSHA decided they were going to proceed with 
this regardless of what the Congress thought. Why 4 days after the 
election? So it could take effect 4 days before the new administration 
came to office.
  I do not think that is what the American people want. And I am proud 
of the fact that my colleagues today will stand up and tell the 
bureaucracy, enough is enough; that they are going to do things in a 
reasonable, responsible way or they will not do them at all.
  Who are the people who are most concerned about their workers in this 
country? It is American small businessmen and small businesswomen who 
know that their workforce is the heart and soul of their business. The 
chances for them to succeed are based on their workers and the 
relationship they have with their workers. They are the ones that are 
interested in them.
  We heard about the FedEx drivers with the bands around their waist, 
or the UPS drivers. Why do they wear

[[Page 3070]]

that? Not because of OSHA. Because their employer wants to make sure 
that they keep them healthy and on the job. How about the Home Depot 
worker? Same kind of waist band, and Amazon.com, we see them running 
around. How about the people at the Kroeger store who stock the 
shelves? Those companies are there looking out for their workers, as 
all employers are. And for Kroeger, as an example, when it comes to the 
checkout person and the height of that table they operate from and that 
cash register, that is all designed to protect those workers.
  So I would ask all my colleagues today to stand up on this historic 
day and do what is right. Do what is right for American workers and do 
what is right for American business, and let us once and for all tell 
the bureaucracy here in Washington, enough is enough.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as 
she may consume to the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Brown).
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this first 
attack from the Bush administration on the working people after the 
coup d'etat that took place in Florida.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this resolution. 
Corporate America, President Bush and this Republican controlled 
Congress are abandoning the scientifically based worker safety 
protections that the Labor Department had finally put in place.
  I would also like to point out that without the coup that took place 
this past November in Florida, we would not be having this debate. This 
is another perfect example of how much it really does matter which 
party is in power and which party cares about our nation's workers.
  After years of struggle, the newly enacted worker protections are 
already under attack, and are about to be stamped out completely. Big 
business and their allies in Congress, through an undemocratic 
political maneuver, want to throw out 10 years of struggle and research 
to kill the standards that require employers to protect workers.
  Remember, working men and women are the backbone of this country, and 
I cannot believe that this Congress is simply ignoring their safety.
  OSHA was finally moving forward to develop a standard to prevent 
unnecessary injuries, and this bill would only cause those workers more 
  I urge my colleagues to stand up for the workers of America and vote 
against this resolution.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of federal 
employees, who after ten years of studies, scientific evidence and 
millions of injuries, have taken the evidence and acted to protect the 
public interest. I rise in support of the findings of the studies 
initiated by my Republican Colleagues, which found not once, not twice, 
but in three separate studies, that Musculoskeletal Disorders, which 
injure nearly 2 million people annually, are caused by ergonomics 
hazards in the workplace. I rise in support of the employees in my 
state and district who have suffered workplace injuries, and who have 
continued to suffer without the protection of an ergonomics standard 
which has been found to prevent those injuries. I rise to applaud the 
Clinton Administration's efforts to protect worker safety and the 
enactment OSHA's most significant rule to date. Unfortunately, this 
legislation is just another attempt by the Republican Party to 
eliminate the gains that the Clinton Administration gave to American 
  If I were to tell you that 1,600 children were being injured at their 
schools every day, if 1,600 people were injured every day in car 
accidents, if 1,600 people a day were injured in any other fashion, we 
would have a national crisis on our hands. But when OSHA, the 
Department of Labor, the Centers for Disease Control, and three 
separate studies, find that 1,600 workers are injured so severely on 
the job every day, that they need time off of work, we not only turn 
our back on workers, but we attempt, for the first time ever, to 
rescind a rule issued by federal agencies. These 1600 injuries are 
preventable, my friends! These injuries are estimated to cost 20 
billion dollars annually in workers compensation, while the actual cost 
to the economy is nearly 50 billion dollars. These injuries result in 
lost wages for working families and lost productivity for struggling 
small businesses. And it's preventable!
  I also rise today in strong opposition to the method by which this 
legislation has come to the House Floor. The Congressional Review Act 
has never before been used to review a rule that our agencies have 
issued. It's never before been used. Ever. The Congressional Review Act 
is an extremist tool, a part of the Contract with America, and it's 
being used to tie the hand of our federal agencies, and of future 
Congresses, and to end any chance of ever protecting workers from 
preventable injuries. The method by which this bill has come to the 
House floor today, has left both sides unable to amend the legislation, 
bypassing long established House procedures, including review by the 
appropriate committee's. It's been rushed through by people long 
opposed to OSHA's ergonomics rule, and will result in permanent 
debilitating injuries to employees, and in billions of dollars of 
damage to our economy.
  I encourage all of my colleagues to take a close look at the studies 
which opponents to this rule commissioned. They prove conclusively that 
ergonomic practices can prevent injuries and help improve the quality 
of life of all working Americans. I strongly discourage establishing 
this dangerous precedent, and ask that they vote against the 
Disapproval Resolution for the Ergonomics Rule.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Senate 
Joint Resolution 6 to overturn the Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration's flawed ergonomics regulation. OSHA's Ergonomic rules 
are unnecessary, too costly to businesses, and may not accomplish the 
stated goal of improving worker safety.
  The proposed regulation is expected to cost $4.5 billion to the 
economy according to OSHA, I believe the cost will far exceed that. 
Small, medium, and large businesses would incur billions of dollars in 
new costs. If allowed to go into effect the OSHA regulation will be the 
biggest, most onerous new government mandate industries have faced in 
years, and there is absolutely no concrete evidence that it would 
result in a greater reduction in injuries.
  The problems with the OSHA ergonomics regulations are numerous. 
Musculoskeletal disorders are poorly defined with no differentiation 
between job injuries and those, which are pre-existing. It is 
impossible to ignore non-work-related factors, yet OSHA requires 
employers to do so. Furthermore, there is no medical standard for 
confirming injuries or a standard treatment protocol. Employees will 
also be left to determine whether to follow a federal OSHA requirement 
or state workers' compensation laws when any musculoskeletal disorder 
  Industries have done extensive research of employees and their worker 
safety records. The results of their research have shown that voluntary 
initiatives such as early intervention, job rotation, worker training, 
new equipment, and increased mechanization contribute to improving 
worker safety records.
  Passing this resolution to rescind OSHA's ergonomics regulation will 
be a victory for workers and businesses in Georgia. We must ensure that 
workers have safe conditions in which to work while at the same time 
allowing businesses to prosper. The Clinton Administration's last 
minute, costly ergonomics mandate would have resulted in layoffs and 
higher prices for goods and services. I urge all of my colleagues to 
join me in supporting this resolution.
  Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to S.J. Res. 6, the 
Disapproval Resolution for the OSHA Ergonomics Rule. This proposal will 
repeal ergonomic standards that protect millions of working men and 
  These ergonomics guidelines were issued in the final days of the 
Clinton administration by the Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration (OSHA) to prevent repetitive-stress injuries.
  These guidelines are designed to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, 
such as back injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, which constitute the 
biggest safety and health problem in the workplace. Such injuries 
account for nearly one-third of all serious job-related injuries.
  In 1999, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 
600,000 workers suffered injuries caused by repetitive motion, heavy 
lifting, and forceful exertion. Ergonomics injuries affect every sector 
of the economy, including nurses, cashiers, computer users, truck 
drivers, construction workers, and meat cutters.
  Women are particularly harmed by such injuries. Employees in data 
entry positions, assembly line slots, nursing home staffs and many 
other jobs face a heightened risk of workplace injury if implementation 
of the new ergonomics standard is halted.
  A January 2001 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study concluded 
that there is abundant scientific evidence demonstrating that 
repetitive workplace motions can cause injuries, and that such injuries 
can be prevented through ergonomic interventions.
  OSHA developed a set of regulations to prevent extensive worker 
injuries. It is estimated that implementation of these regulations will

[[Page 3071]]

prevent more than 4.6 million injuries over the next decade and save 
employers $9.1 billion a year. If S.J. Res. 6 passes the House, OSHA 
will be barred from issuing comparable protections to protect workers.
  Our workers need to be protected. The OSHA guidelines will prevent 
hundreds of thousands of serious injuries each year and spare workers 
the pain, suffering and disability caused by these injuries. If S.J. 
Res. 6 passes, our workers will have no safety mechanisms to protect 
them from being injured at the workplace.
  We cannot gamble with our worker's health and safety. They should not 
have to suffer unnecessary injuries. We must move forward and implement 
OSHA's important protections that will prevent more workers from being 
  It is unfortunate that the Bush Administration is declaring war on 
working families by supporting this proposal. This Administration is 
pushing this bill in order to pay off the big businesses that supported 
their election.
  But what about the working class who will suffer tremendous losses 
due to the passage of this bill?
  This is the same week that the Republicans want to pass a tax cut to 
benefit the wealthy while at the same time abolish workplace safety 
standards for the working class! Where are the priorities our President 
and Republican leadership?
  I strongly urge my colleagues to support our hard-working individuals 
by voting ``no'' on passage of this proposal.
  Mr. BENTSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to S.J. Res. 6, 
the Disapproving Resolution for the ergonomics rule that the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued to prevent 
workplace-related repetitive-stress injuries.
  Today we stand poised, for the first time, to disapprove an agency 
rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The target of this 
unprecedented effort is a rule that tries to address musculoskeletal 
disorders (MSDs). The rule requires employers to take actions to 
address MSDs and ergonomic hazards if and when the employer determines 
that an employee, who has significant exposure to ergonomics risk 
factors, has reported a work-related MSD injury. This process was 
commenced by former Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole in 1990, during the 
first President Bush's administration, who noted at the time that there 
was sufficient scientific evidence to require OSHA to proceed to 
address ``one of the nation's most debilitating across-the-board worker 
safety and health illnesses of the 1990's'' Here we are, over a decade 
later, still arguing about whether the OSHA has the authority to 
promulgate a workplace ergonomics rule.
  It is important to stress two things. First, under the ergonomics 
rule, it is the employer, not the employee, who determines if the 
reported MSD is work-related. Employers may obtain the assistance of a 
health care professional in determining whether the MSD is work-related 
or employers may make the determinations themselves. Second, the 
ergonomics rule does not apply a ``one-size-fits-all'' approach that 
forces employers to establish comprehensive ergonomics program. 
Employers are given the flexibility to tailor their response to the 
circumstances of their workplace. Employers may use a combination of 
engineering, administrative and work-practice controls to reduce 
hazards. I suspect if the Agency put out specific requirements, they 
would be chided for being too inflexible and placing impractical 
burdens on employers.
  Opponents of the ergonomics rule argue that the costs of complying 
with the OSHA ergonomics standard will be $100 billion. While I 
understand these concerns, and believe that the compliance burden of 
the ergonomics standard should be limited, especially on small 
businesses struggling to make a profit, I am also concerned that some 
workers may suffer undue stress and injuries from repetitive motions 
which could result in even greater costs. Studies have found that these 
disorders constitute the largest job-related injury and illness problem 
in the United States today. Employers pay more than $15-$20 billion in 
workers' compensation costs for these disorders every year, and taking 
into account other expenses associated with repetitive stress injuries 
(RSIs), this total may increase to $45-$54 billion a year. While 
thousands of companies have taken steps to address and prevent 
musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) or RSIs, half of all American 
workplaces address ergonomics. The annual costs of this standard to 
employers are estimated to be $4.5 billion, while the annual benefits 
it will generate are estimated to be $9.1 billion.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this shortsighted 
congressional action has ramifications far beyond treating the rule as 
if it had never taken effect. Disapproval prohibits OSHA from reissuing 
the same rule or a new rule that is ``substantially the same'' unless 
the new rule is specifically authorized by Congress. Given the 
political minefield OSHA had to cross the first time, history tells us 
that they won't soon be traveling that road again, leaving far too many 
American workers in workplaces that do not address a substantial 
workplace hazard.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I strongly oppose the resolution pending 
before the House, which would disapprove the Department of Labor 
workplace safety rules related to ergonomics. In the strongest possible 
terms, I urge my colleagues to reject this measure.
  There have been ten years of science and study on this issue. Each 
year, it is estimated that 1.8 million Americans suffer from workplace 
injuries, many of which result from overexertion or repetitive motion. 
Musculoskeletal injuries on the job cause 300,000 injuries each year. 
Workers in the meatpacking and poultry industries, auto assembly, 
nursing homes, transportation, warehousing, construction and data entry 
are among those most affected. Due to the demographics of these jobs, 
women are particularly at risk. Many of these injuries are serious 
enough to require time off from work, and cost businesses billions in 
workers compensation.
  It speaks volumes that after years of delaying these workplace safety 
standards with the argument that more time and study were needed, the 
Republican Majority has rushed this resolution of disapproval to the 
Floor with little notice, no committee hearings, no possibility of 
amendment, and only one hour provided for general debate. It's also 
ironic that, should the House adopt the resolution before us today, a 
workplace safety rulemaking that began 9 years ago during the first 
Bush Administration will be derailed by the signature of George W. 
  If there are problems with the new ergonomics rules, they can be 
addressed through the regular process, through hearings, and perfecting 
changes. Instead, today we have a sledgehammer.
  Republicans should not be putting the special interests ahead of the 
public interest. We've studied this and studied this for the last ten 
years. The results are in. It's time to protect Americans from these 
preventable injuries. In the interest of protecting millions of workers 
from debilitating injuries, Congress should reject the resolution of 
  Mr. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, ergonomics may be a fancy-sounding name 
but the impacts on workers from ergonomic hazards, including repetitive 
stress injuries (RSIs), carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis are down-
to-earth and serious. Working men and women who suffer from ergonomic 
injuries have difficulty accomplishing the simple tasks that we take 
for granted. They often cannot open a can of soup, cannot comb their 
hair, and cannot hug their children. All of us know someone who has 
suffered a repetitive stress injury. Many keep working, in pain, 
because they cannot afford to stop. Their injuries are serious, they 
are obvious, they are often life-long and--most importantly--they are 
  Every year, 600,000 workers suffer serious injuries because of 
ergonomic injuries (according to a 1999 BLS study). Many of those 
injured workers are women. In fact, while women are 46 percent of the 
workforce, they account for 64% of repetitive motion injuries, 69% of 
lost-work-time cases due to carpal tunnel syndrome, and 61% of lost-
work-time cases from tendinitis. Ergonomic hazards are the cause of 
one-third of all serious job-related injuries, but half of injuries 
affecting working women. They cost our nation $45 to $50 billion each 
year in medical costs, lost wages and lost productivity.
  I, along with my Democratic colleagues in the Illinois delegation, 
today released a report prepared by the minority staff of the 
Government Reform Committee. It found that, in 1998, 26,734 Illinois 
workers suffered injuries so severe that they missed at least one day 
of work. Of those injuries, 5,554 workers--more than 1 in 5--missed 
more than a month of work. The cost of Illinois' economy is over $2 
billion a year.
  Last November, after 10 years of study, 9 weeks of hearings, 11 best 
practices conferences, 9 months of opportunity for written comment, and 
years of legislative delays, ergonomic standards were finally issued to 
prevent injuries. The program standard issued last fall outlined the 
benefits from this rule: 4.6 million fewer injuries, protections for 
102 million workers at 6.1 million worksites, $9.1 billion in average 
annual savings, and $27,700 savings in direct costs for each injury 
prevented. The cost: $4.5 billion a year. Half of the projected savings 
result from preventing 4.6 million injuries.
  In January 2001, the National Academy of Sciences issued a 

[[Page 3072]]

study, giving the latest in a long line of confirmations that ergonomic 
injuries are a serious workplace problem and they can be prevented 
through standards to reduce ergonomic hazards.
  There is practical evidence as well. At companies like 3M and the big 
three auto makers, ergonomic standards have not only helped reduce 
worker injuries, they have saved money and made the companies more 
  Ten years ago, Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole called repetive stress 
injuries ``one of the nation's most debilitating across the board 
worker safety and health illnesses of the 1990's.'' We have delayed 
action for 10 years. Over that time, 6 million working men and women 
suffered needlessly. It is wrong that we let the 1990's go by without 
taking action. It would be unconscionable to allow RSIs to continue to 
plaque working families in the new millennium.
  The Joint Resolution of Disapproval overturns last November's 
standards and prevents the Department of Labor from issuing any similar 
standard unless specifically authorized by Congress. The Bush 
Administration and its Republican supporters in Congress say that the 
rule costs too much. It is too costly to protect 102 million workers? 
This same Administration has proposed giving $774 billion to the 
richest one-percent of all Americans over the next 10 years.
  I believe the November standards make sense in terms of workplace 
health and safety and economic productivity. But even if you believe 
that the employers need help to make ergonomic changes, why not take 
some of that $774 billion and use it to improve workplace safety? I 
simply do not believe that protecting workers is beyond our means.

                     Ergonomic Injuries in Illinois

 (Prepared for Representatives Rod R. Blagojevich, Jerry F. Costello, 
Danny K. Davis, Lane Evans, Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Jackson, Jr., William 
  O. Lipinski, David Phelps, Bobby L. Rush, and Janice D. Schakowsky)

     Minority Staff, Special Investigations Division, Committee on 
    Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, March 7, 2001

                           executive summary

       Ergonomic injuries, such as back problems, tendonitis, 
     sprains and strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome, are a 
     serious and expensive workplace problem affecting the health 
     of hundreds of thousands of workers and costing the U.S. 
     economy billions of dollars annually. In 1998, almost six 
     hundred thousand workers suffered ergonomic injuries that 
     were so severe that they were forced to take time off of 
       Ergonomic injuries account for one-third of all 
     occupational injuries and illnesses and constitute the single 
     largest job-related injury and illness problem in the United 
     States. The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that 
     the costs of ergonomic injuries to employees, employers, and 
     society as a whole can be conservatively estimated at $50 
     billion annually.
       The U.S. Department of Labor has worked for a decade to 
     develop regulations to prevent ergonomic injuries. These 
     regulations were finalized in November 2000. However, 
     Congress is now considering repealing these regulations using 
     the Congressional Review Act, a special legislative maneuver 
     that has never been used before.
       In order to estimate the impact of a repeal of the 
     ergonomics rule on Illinois workers and on the state's 
     economy, Reps. Rod R. Blagojevich, Jerry F. Costello, Danny 
     K. Davis, Lane Evans, Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Jackson, Jr., 
     William O. Lipinski, David Phelps, Bobby L. Rush, and Janice 
     D. Schakowsky requested that the Special Investigations 
     Division of the minority staff of the Committee on Government 
     Reform conduct a study of ergonomic injuries in the state. 
     This report, which is based on data obtained from the Bureau 
     of Labor Statistics (BLS) and cost estimates prepared by the 
     National Academy of Sciences, presents the results of the 
       The report finds that:
       Thousands of Illinois workers suffer from ergonomic 
     injuries. In 1998, 26,734 Illinois workers suffered ergonomic 
     injuries that were so severe that they were forced to miss at 
     least one day of work. Ergonomic injuries accounted for one-
     third of all occupational injuries that occurred in Illinois.
       Many of these ergonomic injuries are severe, causing 
     workers to miss significant time away from work. Of the 
     26,734 ergonomic injuries that caused workers to miss time at 
     work, 5,554, over 20%, caused workers to miss more than a 
     month of work. Almost 60% percent of the injuries were so 
     severe that they caused workers to miss more than one week of 
       Ergonomic injuries cost Illinois's economy over two billion 
     dollars each year. The analysis estimates that the total 
     statewide cost of ergonomic injuries, including lost wages 
     and lost economic productivity, was approximately $2.3 
     billion in 1998.

                            i. introduction

       Ergonomic injuries, such as back problems, tendonitis, 
     sprains and strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome, are a 
     serious and expensive workplace problem affecting the health 
     of hundreds of thousands of workers and costing the U.S. 
     economy billions of dollars annually. In 1998, almost six 
     hundred thousand workers suffered ergonomic injuries that 
     were so severe that they were forced to take time off of 
     work. Ergonomic injuries account for one-third of all 
     occupational injuries and illnesses and constitute the single 
     largest job-related injury and illness problem in the United 
     States. These injuries are painful and debilitating. 
     Ergonomic injuries can permanently disable workers, not only 
     reducing their ability to perform their job, but preventing 
     them from handling even simple tasks like combing their hair, 
     typing, or picking up a baby.
       These injuries are also expensive. Employees lose wages 
     because of these injuries, while employers are forced to pay 
     billions in compensation and face high costs because of the 
     loss of productivity from the injuries. The National Academy 
     of Sciences has estimated that the costs of ergonomic 
     injuries to employees, employers, and society as a whole can 
     be conservatively estimated at $50 billion annually.
       Both Republican and Democratic administrations have been 
     concerned about ergonomic injuries for over a decade. In 
     1990, Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Labor for President George 
     H.W. Bush, found that ergonomic injuries were ``one of the 
     nation's most debilitating across-the-board worker safety and 
     health issues'' and announced that the Bush Administration 
     was ``committed to taking the most effective steps necessary 
     to address the problem of ergonomic hazards. In June of 1992, 
     President Bush's Labor Department began work to establish 
     regulations to solve the problem of ergonomic injuries.
       Under President Clinton, the Department of Labor continued 
     to investigate the causes and potential solutions to 
     ergonomic injuries. Last year the Department held nine weeks 
     of hearings with more than one thousand witnesses. It 
     sponsored 11 best practices conferences and allowed for 
     nearly nine months of written comment from the public. It 
     examined extensive scientific research, including a 1998 
     National Academy of Sciences study that found that ergonomic 
     injuries can be caused by work and that workplace 
     interventions can reduce the number and severity of these 
     injuries. Finally, on the basis of this evidence, the 
     Department concluded that ergonomic standards would reduce 
     the number and severity of ergonomic injuries.
       On November 14, 2000, the Department issued the final 
     standards to reduce the occurrence of ergonomic injuries. 
     Beginning in October of this year, covered employers must 
     provide their employees with information about ergonomic 
     injuries, how to recognize and report them, and a brief 
     description of the new ergonomic standard. The employee is 
     not required to take any additional steps unless an employee 
     reports an ergonomic injury or persistent signs of one. If an 
     employee reports an ergonomic injury or persistent symptoms, 
     and the employee is exposed to ergonomic hazards, the 
     employer must then take action to address the problem. This 
     action could range from a ``quick fix,'' if the injury is 
     isolated, to implementation of a full ergonomics program.
       The standards cover over six million employers and over 100 
     million workers. OSHA estimates that compliance will cost 
     $4.5 billion annually, but that the standards will save 
     approximately $9.1 billion annually and prevent roughly 4.6 
     million injuries over the next ten years.
       Congress is now considering overturning these regulations 
     using a special legislative maneuver, the Congressional 
     Review Act (CRA), which has never been used before. The CRA, 
     enacted in 1996 as part of the Republican Contract with 
     America, allows Congress to repeal rules promulgated by 
     executive agencies. The CRA also allows Congress to bypass 
     many procedural requirements and repeal rules with very 
     little debate.
       On March 1, 2001, Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) invoked the 
     CRA and introduced S.J. Res. 6, which disapproves the 
     recently enacted ergonomics rule. If both the House and the 
     Senate pass the legislation to overturn the regulation, and 
     the President does not veto it, the ergonomics rule will be 
     repealed. The Labor Department would then be permanently 
     prevented from issuing any ergonomics rule that is 
     ``substantially the same'' as the disapproved rule.

                      ii. objective of the report

       This report was requested by Reps. Blagojevich, Costello, 
     Davis, Evans, Gutierrez, Jackson, Lipinski, Phelps, Rush, and 
     Schakowsky to estimate the incidence of ergonomic injuries in 
     Illinois. While there have been analyses of the numbers of 
     workers affected and the cost of ergonomic injuries at the 
     national level, there have been few estimates of the extent 
     of the problem at the state level. This report is the first 
     congressional study to estimate the number of ergonomic 
     injuries in Illinois, as well as the first to estimate the 
     costs of these injuries.

                            iii. methodology

       This analysis presents an estimate of the number of 
     ergonomic injuries in Illinois, and an estimate of their 
     cost. The data on the number ergonomic injuries was obtained 
     upon request from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS 
     conducts extensive surveys of 220,000 private employees in 41 

[[Page 3073]]

     and produces state and national estimates of the total number 
     of workplace injuries and illnesses based on these survey 
     results. The data obtained from BLS includes information on 
     all musculoskeletal disorders--such as sprains and strains, 
     back injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome--that caused 
     employees to miss at least one day of work. In addition to 
     obtaining information on the total number of musculoskeletal 
     injuries, the minority staff also requested and obtained more 
     detailed data on the types and severity of injuries, the 
     industries in which they occur, and the workers who are 
       The report also estimates the cost of ergonomic injuries in 
     Illinois. In order to estimate these costs in Illinois, the 
     report relies upon the recent estimate by the National 
     Academy of Sciences of the nationwide economic costs of 
     ergonomic injuries. The economic costs estimated by the 
     National Academy of Sciences include medical costs, lost 
     wages, and lost productivity. In order to determine a 
     statewide share of these costs, the report calculates the 
     proportion of all U.S. ergonomic injuries that occur in 
     Illinois. The report then uses this proportion to estimate 
     the total economic costs in Illinois.
       The cost figures in this analysis are estimates and are 
     based upon several assumptions about the cost of treating 
     ergonomic injuries and the lost wages and productivity due to 
     these injuries. However, because the BLS data significantly 
     underestimate the total number of injuries, it is likely that 
     these estimates are significantly below the true cost of 
     ergonomic injuries. According to the National Academy of 
     Sciences, ``there is substantial reason to think that a 
     significant proportion of musculoskeletal disorders that 
     might be attributable to work are never reported as such.'' 
     For example, a study in Connecticut found that only 10% of 
     workers who suffered from work-related ergonomic injuries had 
     filed workers' compensation claims, suggesting a high level 
     of underreporting.

                              iv. findings

     A. The Number and Severity of Ergonomic Injuries in Illinois
       The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that ergonomic 
     injuries are a severe problem in the state of Illinois. The 
     data show that in 1998, 26,734 workers suffered ergonomic 
     injuries that were so severe that they were forced to miss at 
     least one day of work. Ergonomic injuries accounted for one-
     third of all occupational injuries that occurred in Illinois 
     in 1998.
       Many of these ergonomic injuries are severe, causing 
     workers to miss significant time away from work. Of the 
     26,734 ergonomic injuries that caused workers to miss time at 
     work, 5,554, over 20%, caused workers to miss more than a 
     month of work. Almost 60% of the injuries were so severe that 
     they caused workers to miss more than one week of work. These 
     extended absences cause financial hardship for employees and 
     increase costs for their employers.
       Workers in some industries are at higher risk of ergonomic 
     injuries than workers in others. Overall, workers in the 
     manufacturing suffered the most injuries (7,303), followed by 
     workers in the services sector (6,132 injuries), and workers 
     in transportation and public utilities (4,731 injuries). 
     Among industry divisions employing a significant number of 
     Illinois citizens, the transportation and public utilities 
     industry had the highest incidence rate of ergonomic 
     injuries, 148 per 10,000 workers.
     B. The Cost of Ergonomic Injuries in Illinois
       Ergonomic injuries cost Illinois's economy millions of 
     dollars each year. In 1998, workers' compensation insurance 
     paid injured workers in Illinois $1.7 billion. The BLS data 
     show that ergonomic injuries accounted for 33% of all 
     workplace injuries in Illinois that year. If workers with 
     ergonomic injuries received a proportionate share of the 
     payments from workers' compensation, the cost of workers' 
     compensation payments for Illinois workers that suffered 
     ergonomic injuries in 1998 would be approximately $560 
       Workers' compensation payments are only a part of the total 
     economic cost of ergonomic injuries, however. Employers and 
     employees must not only pay for medical treatment, but lose 
     millions of dollars in lost wages and lost economic 
     productivity. Overall, the National Academy of Sciences 
     estimates that the total cost of ergonomic injuries to the 
     U.S. economy is approximately $50 billion annually. In 1998, 
     Illinois's private industry workers suffered 26,734 ergonomic 
     injuries, which is 4.5% of all ergonomic injuries that 
     occurred in the United States. If the state of Illinois bears 
     a proportionate share of the nationwide economic costs of 
     ergonomic injuries, this would mean that total costs due to 
     ergonomic injuries in Illinois in 1998 were approximately 
     $2.3 billion.

                             v. conclusion

       This analysis finds that ergonomic injuries present a 
     severe health problem for Illinois's workers and a 
     significant economic cost statewide. Over 26,000 Illinois 
     workers suffered ergonomic injuries that forced them to miss 
     work in 1998. These injuries were often serious, with almost 
     60% of the injuries causing workers to miss more than a week 
     of work. The total cost of ergonomic injuries to employers 
     and employees in Illinois in 1998 was approximately $2.3 

  Mr. CLAY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to urge my colleagues to support the 
OSHA Ergonomics Standard by voting no on the CRA resolution.
  The importance of maintaining the Ergonomics standard as it relates 
to the health and well being of American workers cannot be argued. Each 
year, ergonomic workplace hazards cause over 1.8 million Americans to 
suffer crippling Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. And of those 
injuries, 600,000 result in lost time from work.
  Clearly, MSDs are the greatest single safety and workplace hazard 
confronting American workers today. But these types of injuries can be 
prevented simply by requiring employers to adhere to specific 
ergonomics workplace standards--and the OSHA rules do just that.
  The long overdue OSHA ergonomics standard is supported by extensive 
scientific research and an exhaustive rulemaking record. We have the 
testimony of scores of scientific experts and hundreds of workers 
presented during numerous hearings on the matter--and they confirm that 
MSD injuries ARE serious, and they ARE caused by inadequate workplace 
environments, AND, they ARE preventable.
  Since 1990, when then-Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole first 
promised to take action to protect workers from repetitive strain 
injuries, more than 6 million workers have suffered serious MSD 
  American workers have waited over ten years for this critical 
workplace protection and we must not make them wait any longer.
  Every member of Congress has experienced first-hand the enormous 
pressure coming from the White House, the Republican leadership and 
business groups for us to use the Congressional Review Act to do away 
with these critical worker protection standards.
  But while the Bush Administration says these rules place an unfair 
financial burden on corporations, it says nothing about the long-term 
health problems MSD's impose on American workers.
  These new safety and health protections will prevent hundreds of 
thousands of serious MSD injuries each year and spare American workers 
the pain, suffering and disability caused by these debilitating 
  I urge every member of Congress to join with the scientific experts 
and safety and health professionals in support OSHA's Ergonomics 
standard, so all working people throughout this country can finally 
have the workplace protections they so urgently need and so justifiably 
deserve. For the sake and health of American workers, vote no on the 
CRA resolution.
  Mr. SWEENEY. Mr. Speaker, As the former Labor Commissioner for the 
State of New York, I have a long standing and well known concern for 
workers rights and worker protection. I strongly believe that our 
workers are companies' best asset. Our workers are some of the best 
educated and most productive in the world and they deserve protection 
from unhealthy worker environments. For this reason I was pleased to 
see the U.S. Department of Labor work to address workplace injuries.
  Unfortunately, the rule put forward by the Department of Labor is 
unnecessarily broad and overreaching. Rather than being limited to jobs 
that involve numerous repetitive motions or excessive lifting, OSHA has 
created a rule so enormous in its scope that it regulates every motion 
in the workplace. Additionally, specific parts of the proposal have 
been identified by small business as costly and troublesome; a charge I 
take very seriously. Furthermore, there are charges that many non-work 
related factors may increase the likelihood of injury, yet OSHA's 
standard holds employers accountable. Lastly, some critics say there is 
a lack of consensus in scientific communities as to the causes and 
proven remedies for repetitive stress injuries.
  Two specific concerns prompt me to cast a vote of no confidence on 
the ergonomics rule. Besides the legitimate concerns I have already 
discussed, I am skeptical of regulations that are put into effect 
during the final days of an Administration that had eight years to 
promulgate them. Despite the obvious political aspects of these 
regulations, the idea that a rule can use a ``one size fits all'' 
approach to address the immensely complex ergonomics issue is foolhardy 
at best. Washington has tried this approach before and failed, time and 
time again. Secondly, the negative impact the 700 pages of regulations 
will have on small businesses is predictable. It will cost them time 
and money to decipher them, cost them more to implement, and cause many 
to simply close up shop. Small businesses are the engine that drives 
the economy, and the more difficult we make it for them to succeed 
through unnecessarily burdensome regulations, the more difficult it is 
for the economy to grow.
  My vote of no confidence on the ergonomics regulations does not mean 
I oppose an

[[Page 3074]]

ergonomics standard; I just oppose this one. I plan to work with Labor 
Secretary Chao to ensure our workers are protected from unhealthy work 
environments. Secretary Chao has made clear in a letter to Members of 
Congress, ``Let me assure you that, in the event a Joint Resolution of 
Disapproval becomes law, I intend to pursue a comprehensive approach to 
ergonomics which may include new rulemaking, that addresses the 
concerns levied against the current standard * * * Repetitive stress 
injuries in the workplace are an important problem.'' I pledge to work 
with her to see a quality, common sense, workable ergonomics standard 
put in place to protect the valued workers of our nation.
  Mrs. MINK of Hawaii. Mr. Speaker, the ergonomics rule adopted by the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ten years after 
first being proposed by then-Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole will 
protect 102 million American workers from injuries in the workplace.
  The ergonomics rule is designed to protect workers from 
musculoskeletal disorders caused by highly repetitive, heavy and 
forceful work. The injuries that result account for nearly a third of 
all serious job-related injuries.
  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1999 more than 
600,000 workers suffered serious workplace injuries caused by 
repetitive motion and overexertion. These injuries cost employers and 
employees $45 to 54 billion annually in compensation costs, lost wages 
and lost productivity.
  The National Academy of Sciences, in a January, 2001 report mandated 
by Congress, found that in 1999 musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 
130 million encounters with physicians, hospitals, emergency rooms and 
outpatient facilities.
  The study concluded that there is a relationship between back 
disorders and manual material handling, heavy physical work, frequent 
bending and twisting and whole body vibration. Repetition, force and 
vibration are related to hand and arm injuries.
  The NAS concluded that ``the weight of the evidence justifies the 
introduction of appropriate and selected interventions to reduce the 
rise of musculoskeletal disorders of the lower back and upper 
extremities. These include, but are not limited to, the application of 
ergonomic principles to reduce physical as well psychosocial 
stressors.'' Clearly, the $1 million NAS study mandated by Congress 
supports the ergonomics rule.
  Consider the experience of the automobile industry. In 1994 Chrysler, 
Ford and General Motors and the United Auto Workers negotiated 
ergonomics programs in auto plants. The results: for workers, fewer and 
less severe injuries; for employers, gains in productivity, 1994. The 
Bureau of Labor estimates that in just 1 year, 69,000 work-related 
injuries were prevented in these companies. Of these, 41,000, or over 
two-thirds, were repetitive stress injuries.
  OSHA estimates that 102 million workers in 6.1 million workplaces 
would be covered by the new ergonomics standard. Over ten years 
ergonomic problems in 18 million jobs will be fixed. Direct cost 
savings for each of these problem jobs is $27,000, including saving 
lost productivity, lost tax payments and the administrative costs 
related to workers' compensation claims.
  The ergonomics rule is extremely important to women in today's 
workforce. Women make up 46 percent of the workforce, but account for 
64 percent of repetitive motion injuries. Repeal of the ergonomics rule 
will have a disproportionate effect on women in the workplace.
  Women account for 64 percent of repetitive motion injuries.
  Women account for 69 percent of lost-time cases from carpal tunnel 
  Women account for 61 percent of lost-time cases from tendinitis.
  Annually over 180,000 women are injured due to overexertion.
  According to the AFL-CIO, the top five jobs with the highest number 
of nonfatal injuries requiring time off are nursing aides, orderlies 
and attendants; registered nurses; cashiers, maids and housekeepers and 
  Disapproving the ergonomics rule through use of the Congressional 
Review Act will preclude OSHA from ever again promulgating a rule on 
ergonomics. The Administration could amend, revise or even repeal the 
rule through the very same rulemaking process that led to the rule. 
Congress can effectively suspend the rule by prohibiting OSHA from 
spending any money to implement the rule. But by disapproving the 
ergonomics rule through use of the Congressional Review Act, OSHA will 
not be able to issue any ergonomics rule in the future. OSHA will never 
be able to implement any of the recommendations of the National Academy 
of Science as a result of the use of the Congressional Review Act.
  I urge my colleagues in the interest of worker safety to please vote 
``no'' on S.J. Res. 6.
  Mr. OTTER. Mr. Speaker, OSHA's final ergonomic rules are flawed and 
based on assumptions and speculation. Even a study done by the National 
Academy of Sciences on ergonomics, which implied their support of 
OSHA's ergonomics regulation, called for more research and better 
statistics. We can't run agencies on assumptions, instead, agencies 
must govern on sound principles. And sound principles do not include 
holding employers responsible for employee injuries that may have 
occurred outside the workplace. That's simple unfair and unjust to 
small businesses across the country.
  What we have here is another federal agency that doesn't trust the 
American people. In fact, small businesses, testifying before OSHA 
public hearings, suggested non-regulatory, educational and voluntary 
approaches to addressing ergonomic issues. However, OSHA ignored small 
business concerns despite the fact the American people and small 
businesses have voluntarily reduced injuries by 26% between 1992 and 
  OSHA estimated the ergonomics standard will cost employers $4.2 
billion a year, but a Small Business Administration report estimated 
the actual cost of compliance would be as high as $42.3 billion. This 
cost will come out of American's wallets just because OSHA wanted to 
put this rule in place, even though they did so without listening to 
the people through a Congressionally-mandated analysis.
  Mr. Speaker, along with the burden of another regulatory program, 
OSHA's program will invite a new wave of questionable claims and an 
increased number of lawsuits. Let us get back to common sense, leave it 
up to people in the workplace to decide, and vote for S.J. Resolution 
6--a Measure of Disapproval for OSHA.
  Mr. Speaker, I also submit the two letters attached for the Record, 
because they too state the case of OSHA's misguided efforts.

                                      Micron Technology, Inc.,

                                         Boise, ID, March 6, 2001.
     Rep. C.L. ``Butch'' Otter,
     1st Congressional District, House of Representatives, 
         Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative Otter: I am writing on behalf of Micron 
     Technology, Inc. regarding OSHA's recent rules creating an 
     ergonomics program standard. As Vice President of Operations 
     whose responsibilities include the safety of Micron's 
     employees, providing a safe work environment is an essential 
     part of my responsibilities. Micron currently has a quality 
     ergonomics program and knows such a program can enhance 
     workplace safety. However, the standard adopted by OSHA would 
     have a negative impact on Micron and would actually inhibit 
     our ability to provide the safest possible workplace for our 
     employees. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to vote for 
     the Joint Resolution of Disapproval of the Standard under the 
     Congressional Review Act.
       While the ergonomics rule may be well intentioned, it is 
     seriously flawed. These flaws include:
       The proposed regulations exceed the authority granted OSHA 
     under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 which 
     reads in part, ``Nothing in this Act shall be construed to 
     supercede or in any manner affect any workmen's compensation 
     law or to enlarge or diminish or affect in any other manner 
     the common law or statutory rights, duties, or liabilities of 
     employers and employees under any law with respect to 
     injuries, diseases, or death of employees arising out of, or 
     in the course of, employment.'' By creating a controversial 
     new government mandated compensation program, OSHA exceeds 
     its mandate of injury prevention and supercedes and 
     negatively affects Idaho's worker's compensation law. Work 
     restriction protection is, in effect, a federal workers 
     compensation system which conflicts with state administered 
     workers compensation.
       State workers' compensation laws, would be undermined by 
     OSHA's proposed regulations. The rule provides for 
     compensation far in excess of that provided under Idaho's 
     Workers' Compensation statues. The added compensation would 
     leave such employees with little incentive to return to work 
     following an accident.
       The rule seems to state that the injury need not even be 
     caused by the workplace in order for a worker to be 
     compensated under the rule. Also the difficulty in diagnosing 
     the cause or even confirming the existence of musculoskeletal 
     disorders is well known. These facts confirm the rule is a 
     clear invitation to fraud.
       We are concerned that the regulation is ahead of the 
     science and that individual solutions do not always work 
     generally. We have learned through implementing our own 
     program that for some employees, isolating workplace causes 
     is straightforward. For others it is not, depending upon 
     activities outside the workplace and unique physiology.
       Even if the causal link between the injury and the 
     workplace can be identified, abatement is sometimes not 
     clear. Yet, the rule

[[Page 3075]]

     now creates potential liability for the employer with no 
     clear objective way to achieve compliance. This is not 
       With a single-event trigger and the broad remedies mandated 
     when such an event occurs, we will be forced to allocate 
     limited resources to solve problems that may not really 
     exist, diverting those resources from where they can be best 
     used to provide the safest possible workplace.
       Disputed claims would likely have to work their way through 
     both the OSHA system and the states' workers' compensation 
     system, greatly increasing the cost to employers. Since the 
     OSHA rule does not establish a system for dispute resolution, 
     it is likely that implementation of the rule would result in 
     a flood of litigation that would inundate an already 
     overtaxed federal court system.
       The paperwork created by the standard is extremely 
     burdensome and does not necessarily lead to increased safety.
       As you can see OSHA's ergonomics program standard is flawed 
     in virtually all aspects and will negatively impact jobs, 
     safety, employee benefits, costs to consumers and 
     profitability. It is incumbent on Congress to disapprove the 
     rules and to consider more appropriate approach to reducing 
     injuries in the workplace. If you have any questions 
     regarding the ergonomics rule and its impact on my company, 
     please feel free to contact me.
                                                      Jay Hawkins,
     V.P. Operations.

                                 Idaho Farm Bureau Federation,

                                     Pocatello, ID, March 6, 2001.
     Hon. Butch Otter,
     Longworth House Office Building,
     Washington, DC.

     Attn: Todd Urgerecht, Legislative Affairs Director.

       Dear Representative Otter: The Senate is scheduled to begin 
     debate on Joint Resolution of Disapproval (JRD) on the 
     ergonomic protection standard on Tuesday, March 6, and vote 
     on the resolution on Wednesday, March 7. The House may vote 
     on the Senate-passed resolution on March 8, or March 9.
       The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation urges you to support the 
     Joint Resolution of Disapproval on the ergonomic protection 
       Passage of the JRD would invalidate the ergonomic 
     protection standard promulgated by the Occupational Safety 
     and Health Administration in November 2000. OSHA would still 
     be free to offer guidelines and enforce other OSHA 
     requirements for workplaces to be free of recognized hazards. 
     OSHA would be prohibited from re-introducing substantially 
     the same regulation later.
       Common Arguments Against a Congressional Review Act JRD and 
     appropriate responses:
       The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study that employers 
     supported and obtained funding for confirms the need for an 
     ergonomics regulation.
       False: The NAS study clearly shows the contradictory nature 
     of the research on ergonomic injury and work-relatedness. NAS 
     even acknowledges that ``psycho-social factors'' (like 
     personal stress, whether one likes one's job or employer) are 
     major contributors to workplace ergonomic injuries.
       Employers are desperately seeking ways to overturn the 
     regulation even though ``all the scientific evidence'' 
     indicates it is needed.
       False: OSHA rushed the ergonomic standard through at the 
     11th hour of the Clinton administration despite the equivocal 
     NAS evaluation of the science. The American College of 
     Occupational and Environmental Medicine was so concerned 
     about the science supporting the ergonomic regulation that it 
     withdrew its earlier support of an ergonomics standard once 
     OSHA published it.
       Passing a Joint Resolution of Disapproval will prevent OSHA 
     from ever addressing the issue of workplace ergonomic 
       False: If Congress passes a JRD, the Congressional Review 
     Act forbids OSHA from again promulgating a regulation that is 
     ``substantially'' the same. OSHA would retain the right to 
     issue guidance to employers to prevent ergonomic injuries, to 
     promulgate best management practices, and even promulgate a 
     future rule that is substantially different from the November 
     2000 regulation.
       Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
           Sincerely yours,
                                                   Rick D. Keller,
                                    Executive Vice President, CEO.

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the resolution to 
repeal the ergonomics rule on repetitive motion syndrome issued by the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has been 
working on the new regulations for the last 10 years and that work has 
produced a rule that will protect our nation's workforce from what then 
Secretary of Labor, Elizabeth Dole, called ``one of the nation's most 
debilitating across-the-board worker safety and health illnesses in the 
  The plain truth is that America's workers suffer thousands of 
injuries every day and millions of injuries every year. While not all 
injuries are unavoidable, we in Congress have a duty to protect our 
workers from unnecessary injury. The ergonomics rule will prevent 
thousands of injuries due to repetitive motion syndrome. It has been 
estimated that the new protections will prevent over four and a half 
million injuries over the next ten years and save employers and workers 
$9 billion each year. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by. The 
fact that the resolution would prevent similar regulations from being 
implemented in the future is unconscionable. Repetitive motion syndrome 
is a real problem that will not go away with the passage of this 
  Our workforce is suffering and we can ill afford to repeal this much 
needed rule and leave workers without any of the protections deemed 
necessary by OSHA. It is amazing to me that the Republicans have 
resorted to dusting off the rule book to use a technicality as a means 
of blocking this provision. What are we to say to the thousands of 
workers that will suffer from repetitive motion syndrome in the years 
to come if this rule is repealed. I don't think that those suffering 
will be heartened by the notion that this is political posturing at its 
  We cannot let this resolution pass. We must let the ergonomics rule 
take affect so that our workers will enjoy the safety and protection 
due to them. I urge all my colleagues to vote no on the resolution.
  Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the 
Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the ergonomics 
workplace safety standards.
  Each year, one million workers in this country miss work as a result 
of the stress and strain of injury inflicted by hazardous work 
conditions. These individuals suffer from a variety of disorders, such 
as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and back injuries among others.
  After ten years of public process initiated by former Labor Secretary 
Elizabeth Dole, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration issued an ergonomic standard, which went into 
effect earlier this year.
  During the entire time that the ergonomic standard was being 
considered, the Republican leadership of this body stalled any 
implementation of a standard. They claimed that the Department of Labor 
lacked any sound and scientific basis for its proposed ergonomic 
  They continually demanded that we wait until a report by the National 
Academy of Sciences was issued before we promulgated any rule.
  Well, the Academy of Sciences conducted an exhaustive two-year study 
focused upon the causation, diagnosis and prevention of musculoskeletal 
disorders and concluded that there is a direct causal relationship 
between the workplace and ergonomic injuries. In addition, they also 
concluded that ergonomic injury could significantly be reduced through 
workplace interventions.
  This is good science. Just like the Republicans demanded! I feel good 
to support my GOP friends in demanding good science and now we have it!
  But instead science is not the issues. This is just another attempt 
by the Republican Party to ignore the needs of the hard working 
Americans that make our country run each day.
  Repealing the OSHA ergonomic ruling would impose a substantial 
economic burden in compensation cost, lost wages and productivity, 
totaling an annual loss of nearly 50 billion dollars.
  American workers have been the driving force behind our economy for 
so many years. These men and women, people like the individuals I 
represent in Queens and the Bronx, New York deserve the right to work 
in safe ergonomically correct work environments where their health is 
not in danger.
  Let's give the American people something that they will really see 
and reap the benefits from each day--safe-working environments.
  This is not only good science, but good policy.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong 
opposition to S.J. Res. 6. This resolution would effectively overturn 
ten years of scientific study, public debate and agency efforts, which 
have resulted in a comprehensive and historic rule to protect the 
health and safety of America's workers.
  In 1990, when this process was initiated, Labor Secretary Elizabeth 
Dole expressed her concern that repetitive stress injuries constituted 
one of the most serious worker safety issues of the decade. Now it is a 
new decade, and we finally have a standard in place to prevent millions 
of injuries and create a safer environment in workplaces across the 
country. It would be a tragedy to dismantle all the progress that has 
been made and deny our workers the protections they deserve.
  I understand the concerns of many business owners that compliance 
with the ergonomics

[[Page 3076]]

rule will impose an economic and administrative burden, and I am 
particularly sensitive to the potential impact of the rule on small 
businesses, which drive the economy of Rhode Island and many other 
states. However, OSHA estimates have shown that, while the new standard 
will cost business approximately $4.5 billion annually, it will likely 
save twice that much in worker's compensation and lost productivity 
each year.
  I am committed to ensuring that the Department of Labor stands ready 
to offer any technical assistance businesses need in implementing the 
new standard in individual workplaces, and I would be willing to 
revisit this issue as we begin to develop a clearer picture of the 
actual costs and benefits of the rule. However, I am not prepared to 
reverse this landmark standard, which stands to benefit so many 
millions of hard-working Americans, before we have even given it a 
chance to work. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I will vote against this ill-
advised resolution, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to S.J. Res. 6 to repeal the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ergonomics standard. 
Using the Congressional Review Act to overturn the OSHA ergonomics 
standard would be an extraordinary action, the first of its kind. It 
would be the first time in 30 years Congress reversed a legally 
established worker safety measure. It would be the first time CRA has 
been used to overturn any federal rule or regulation, much less one 
that was issued through ten years of public process.
  The regulations, scheduled to go into effect this October, draw from 
the businesses that have successfully prevented ergonomic injuries or 
reduced their severity in the workplace. Repetitive injuries are one of 
the leading causes of work-related illness. More that 647,000 American 
workers suffer serious injuries and illnesses due to musculoskeletal 
disorders, costing businesses $15 to $20 billion annually in workers' 
compensation costs.
  The standard--ten years in the making--could be overturned without 
any meaningful consideration of the facts and without workers having a 
chance to be heard. One hour of debate time is insufficient when it 
comes to the health and safety of the American worker. Don't be misled. 
Use of the CRA would not send the standard back to the drawing board. 
Rather, it would effectively prohibit OSHA from issuing a protective 
standard to address the nation's largest job safety program. This 
effort should be seen for what it is--an effort to kill any ergonomics 
standard once and for all.
  Unfortunately, the ergonomics regulations are opposed by the majority 
party for the cost they would impose upon employers without regard for 
the value they would provide to the workforce and the long-term 
benefits to our economy. Basic safety in the workforce should be given, 
not some benefit that can be dropped at an employer's whim. I oppose 
efforts to delay or overturn regulations that would enhance safety in 
the workplace.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the resolution before us 
  Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S.J. Res. 6, 
The Ergonomics Rule Disapproval Resolution. I am pleased that this 
resolution has moved so quickly to the House floor, and I hope that it 
will soon be on its way to the White House to be signed by President 
  I have very grave concerns about the ergonomics regulations 
promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 
under the Clinton Administration. As a Member of the Labor, Health and 
Human Services Subcommittee, I have worked for years to prevent OSHA 
from issuing these rules.
  I support workplace safety, and I think that it is difficult to make 
the case that by supporting this resolution, I am an advocate of unsafe 
work environments. In fact, America's workplaces are safer than ever. 
Workplace injuries, sicknesses, and deaths have been declining for one 
hundred years because America's employers have market-based incentives 
to keep workplaces safe. Hazardous workplaces mean more lost workdays 
and high workers' compensation insurance premiums. Both of these 
factors translate to lost profits. There is no doubt that it is in 
every business owner's interest to promote a safe workplace. In 
addition to market incentives, I am also supportive of programs like 
the successful Voluntary Protection Program, which promote safety 
through cooperative means and education.
  OSHA's risky ergonomics scheme is another effort to gore small 
business that must be stopped. This hastily enacted regulation consumes 
over 300 pages of fine print in the Federal Register, is accompanied by 
over 50,000 pages of supporting information in the docket, and has an 
800-page index. OSHA gave American businesses just two months to 
comment (then added on an additional 30 days) on a regulation which is 
anticipated to cost billions of dollars to implement. I would argue 
that 90 days is barely enough time to read and digest the regulation, 
let alone provide comment. I am further concerned that the rules are so 
broad, confusing, and subjective that employers could never know if 
they are in compliance.
  Beyond my basic concerns regarding the substance of the regulations 
themselves, I am outraged by the flawed process that was used to 
implement the regulation. With my support, language was included in the 
FY01 Labor HHS Appropriations bill barring OSHA from implementing the 
rule. An effort to strip this language from the bill failed on the 
House floor last June by a vote of 201-220. The same language barring 
the ergonomics rule was added to the Senate bill in an amendment on the 
Senate floor. Congress overwhelmingly supported delay of this rule. 
While we in Congress knew that President Clinton would not support our 
position, we were confident that President Clinton would have to 
negotiate with us.
  Ultimately, Congress and the White House reached an agreement that no 
action would be taken on the ergonomics regulations, and that the issue 
would be left for the next Administration--be it a Bush Administration 
or a Gore Administration--to resolve. On November 14, 2000, while the 
Congress was in recess, President Clinton took matters into his own 
hands and moved ahead with the regulations, openly defying the will of 
Congress. This rush to implement the regulation showed the Congress 
that President Clinton had not negotiated in good faith. Furthermore, 
these rules were implemented to go into effect in January, just days 
before a new President would take office. The process made the new 
President unable to repeal the regulations. The process that President 
Clinton chose to put forth this regulation left this Congress with no 
option but to utilize the Congressional Review Act.
  And so I stand here today, Mr. Speaker, because flawed regulations 
were put forth by a lame-duck President, against the will of Congress. 
These regulations were not based on sound science. They will cost 
businesses countless dollars, and unnecessarily destroy jobs. These 
regulations do not protect workers from injury. Instead, the cost to 
implement these rules puts workers at risk of being unemployed.
  I am confident that no American workers will be injured as a result 
of the legislation that I hope will pass this House today. Congress has 
already received assurances from Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao that 
she will place a high priority on assuring worker safety and 
protection. I applaud her for her efforts, and I applaud the small 
businesses in my congressional district and across the country who have 
voluntarily made their workplaces safe, without the intrusion of the 
long arm of the federal government. I rise in support of S.J. Res. 6, 
and urge my colleagues to join me.
  Mr. LaFALCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to S.J. 
Res. 6, a resolution disapproving and overturning the OSHA ergonomics 
standards that took effect earlier this year.
  I oppose this resolution because I believe these standards provide 
businesses of all sizes with the flexibility to comply in an 
efficacious manner and will not only protect worker health but will 
also save American businesses billions of dollars in the long-term. 
Moreover, I am deeply troubled by this unprecedented use of the 
Congressional Review Act to undo a rule that goes to the heart of the 
Federal Government's mission to protect worker safety and health; a 
rule that is the product of 10 years of study by the Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 11 ``best practices'' 
conferences, and a nearly 9-month public comment period; and a rule 
that is supported by thousands of scientific studies, including, most 
recently one mandated by Congress by the National Academy of Sciences.
  Each year, there are 1.8 million workers who suffer from 
musculoskeletal disorders, and 600,000 men and women have injuries so 
severe they are forced to take off work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics 
in my home state of New York reported that more than 48,000 private 
sector workers had serious injuries from ergonomic hazards in the 
workplace, and an additional 18,444 public sector workers had injuries 
serious enough for them to lose time from work. Obviously, there is a 
serious problem here.

  I urge Members to think beyond the workplace as well. Think of the 
mother suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome who is unable to open a 
jar of baby food for her son, or the father suffering lower back pain 
who can no longer play a game of catch with his daughter; the life-long 
friend who cannot take that annual fishing trip or golf outing with you 
anymore because of an on-the-job injury; or the

[[Page 3077]]

neighbors who after a career on the assembly line need your help to do 
yard work because they are no longer able to hold a rake to clean-up 
leaves or to bend over to plant flowers and pull weeds from the garden. 
These are the victims--family, friends, neighbors, and these are the 
everyday, pernicious consequences of repetitive stress injuries that 
not only affect a person's ability to work, but also their ability to 
live a normal life.
  In January, when the Clinton administration issued regulations 
crafted by OSHA over the last decade to prevent work-related 
musculoskeletal injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other 
repetitive-stress injuries, working families across America cheered. 
Finally, protections would be in place to address what is easily one of 
the costliest and the most frequent workplace health threats.
  Yet the business community, from small firms to large manufacturers, 
oppose this ergonomics rule with near unanimity. In my view, their 
decision is a mistake, a position arrived at due to disinformation and 
misunderstandings. Business owners should view the creation of an 
ergonomically friendly workplace like any other business investment, 
such as upgrading computer hardware and software or replacing outdated 
factory equipment with new, technologically sophisticated machines. 
Compliance with this OSHA rule is a short-term cost that will enhance 
both the safety and the productivity of America's workforce and lead to 
long-term benefits and profits for America's businesses.
  I certainly understand how frustrating onerous and rigid federal 
regulations can be to businesses--large, medium, and small--but that is 
not the case here. These workplace safety regulations are neither 
unnecessary nor rigid. Worker compensation costs related to repetitive-
motion injuries, and the costs related to these injuries in terms of 
worker health and quality of life, are reason enough to keep in place 
this effective regulatory solution to the most important safety and 
health problem workers face everyday. Moreover, reasonable flexibility 
for employers and protections against abuse by employees are built-in 
to the rules by OSHA--particularly the provisions allowing employers to 
determine whether an injury is work-related, and allowing employers to 
determine how best to reduce hazards and deal with ergonomic problems 
in their workforces.
  I am also deeply concerned about the use of the Congressional Review 
Act in this instance and its ramifications on any and all ergonomics 
standards in the future. First, we will debate just for one hour a 
resolution that, if passed, would overturn a decade of research, 
studies, and hearings initiated by Republican Secretary of Labor 
Elizabeth Dole. This is no way to legislate. Second, the Congressional 
Review Act not only blocks the OSHA rule under consideration, but also 
blocks any subsequent ergonomics rule that is ``substantially'' 
similar. I can appreciate the desire by some to make changes to the 
ergonomics standard, but these changes should be made administratively. 
Most importantly, they should be based on sound science and on the 
legitimate concerns of both workers and businesses.
  In closing, I urge all of my colleagues to join me in opposition to 
this outrageous, antiworker resolution.
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support S.J. Res. 
6, the Ergonomics Rule Disapproval Resolution.
  Small business is the engine that drives our national and local 
economies. I am deeply concerned about the impact that this ergonomics 
rule would have for these reasons. Since the Department of Labor 
submitted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule 
on ergonomics on November 14, 2000, I have heard from many small 
businesses in my district concerned about the consequences of this rule 
on their places of business.
  While many American businesses are committed to providing a safe 
workplace for their employees by improving safety standards and 
protecting their employees' health, they are particularly troubled by 
the ambiguous procedures and vague definitions that OSHA promulgated 
through the ergonomics rulemaking. The rule holds employers responsible 
for paying 80 percent of an employee's pay for 90 days should his or 
her job contribute to a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). In addition, 
the OSHA rule is unprecedented in scope and is based on uncertain 
science, both in its treatment of alleged MSD and in their relationship 
to the workplace.
  Presently, MSDs are poorly defined with no differentiation between on 
the job injuries and those which are pre-existing. It is impossible to 
ignore non-work-related factors, yet OSHA requires employers to do so. 
Furthermore, there is no medical standard for confirming injuries or a 
standard treatment protocol. The lack of scientific or medical 
standards will only add to the confusion.
  Additionally, the OSHA ergonomics regulation may conflict with state 
workers' compensation laws. Employers will be left to determine whether 
to follow a federal OSHA requirement or state workers' compensation 
laws when any MSD occurs. The OSHA ergonomics rule overrides well-
established state standards that set compensation levels for injured 
workers and determine whether or not a condition is work-related.
  The National Academy of Science report concluded that ``None of the 
common musculoskeletal disorders is uniquely caused by work exposures'' 
and that further ``research is needed to clarify such relationships.''
  By OSHA's own estimates, this ergonomic rule will cover over 102 
million employees, 18 million jobs, and 6.1 million businesses and cost 
almost $100 billion a year to implement. And there are no guarantees or 
certainties that this rule will protect workers or have a positive and 
lasting impact on workplace safety. Furthermore, OSHA's rush to 
judgment in issuing this regulation to meet artificial deadlines 
exemplifies irresponsible governmental action.
  I will continue to support common-sense protections for all workers. 
In addition, I will continue to support legislation to ensure that 
there are adequate workplace safety standards and rules for all 
workers. However, I do not believe that the OSHA ergonomics rule is the 
solution. For these reasons, I urge all my colleagues to support S.J. 
Res. 6.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, we are being forced to vote today on 
this resolution of disapproval for OSHA's ergonomic standard. This is 
an all or nothing approach.
  Our effort to bring about improved ergonomics for our nation's 
workers was started by Elizabeth Dole when she was George Bush, Sr.'s 
Secretary of Labor ten years ago. What we are attempting to address is 
the single largest workplace safety and health problem in the United 
States: the work-related stress and strain injury and disorders that 
cost the economy over $50 billion every year. Employers pay between $15 
and $18 billion in worker's compensation costs alone for these 
injuries. We can do something about it.
  The National Academy of Science backs the scientific basis for OSHA 
ergonomic standards. An exhaustive 2-year study conducted by 19 experts 
in the field found that there is a direct relationship between the 
workplace and ergonomic injuries, and ergonomic injuries can be 
significantly reduced through workplace interventions. Now the 
Republican leadership wants to ignore the very study it mandated. It is 
the wrong step to just overturn this rule. We need to take action to 
protect the health and safety of working families.
  The OSHA standard is only 9 pages long, and it is written in plain 
English. To serve the needs of our workers as well as to prudently 
address costs and benefits, I urge a no vote on the resolution of 
disapproval for the ergonomics rule.
  Mr. RUSH. Mr. Speaker, it is with great disappointment that I stand 
here today to voice my objection to Senate Joint Resolution 6, 
Disapproving Resolution for the OSHA Workplace Safety Rule. This 
resolution is short-sighted and against the public policy Congress has 
been espousing over the last 20 years.
  There is no question that workplace injuries exist and are prevalent. 
Workplace injuries account for one-third of all occupational injuries 
and illnesses and constitute the single largest job-related injury and 
illness problem in the United States. In my home state of Illinois, in 
1998, 26,734 Illinois workers suffered workplace injuries that were so 
severe that they were forced to miss at least 1 day of work.
  Also, workplace injuries currently cost businesses billions. The 
National Academy of Sciences has estimated that the costs of workplace 
injuries to employees and employers, and society as a whole can be 
conservatively estimated at $50 billion annually. Again, in my home 
state of Illinois, the total statewide cost of workplace injuries, 
including lost wages and lost economic productivity, was approximately 
$2.3 billion in 1998.
  OSHA's workplace standards would simply establish preventive measures 
in the workforce to decrease workplace injuries, injuries which 
employers pay for in workman's compensation payments.
  For the last 20 years, under both Republican and Democratic 
majorities and Presidents we have preached the virtues of prevention 
and preventive care. We pay for pap smears, nutrition programs, glucose 
testing, all in the hope of catching medical conditions at an early 
stage before they become more costly chronic conditions.
  The repeal of the workplaces standard is a 180-degree turn from that 
history of preventive services. It is estimated that the standard could 
save employers approximately $4.5 billion a year by helping keep 
workers healthy and productive.

[[Page 3078]]

  Businesses and employees will pay for workplaces injuries in the 
future, they will pay through lost productivity and higher workman's 
compensation payments. By abandoning prevention, we are accepting a 
future of further injuries and greater cost.
  Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong 
opposition to the repeal of valuable and beneficial workplace safety 
standards. We now stand on the edge of turning back a measure that 
would have significantly improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of 
working people, without even maintaining the pretense of a working 
together in a bipartisan manner. There are substantive and, perhaps 
most importantly, procedural grounds why I must oppose this.
  This worker safety rule was not simply created over night. This vote 
today will in fact erase a process that was 10 years in the making. It 
was also based on a 2-year study by the nonpartisan National Academy of 
Sciences which concluded that there is a great deal of scientific 
evidence showing repetitive workplace motions cause injuries that can 
be prevented through ergonomic intervention.
  I have serious problems with the way this issue was brought before us 
in the House. In this situation, the resolution was rushed to the floor 
with little or no warning, and this vote will completely eliminate the 
worker safety rule, using a little known, never before used procedure, 
the Congressional Review Act. This resolution also prohibits the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration from issuing a similar 
rule to protect the safety of workers, which clouds the issue further. 
Eliminating the rule under these circumstances rolls back years of 
investigation and review, and will force the effort to improve worker 
safety to start over from scratch, where it began more than 10 years 
ago. A more proper course of action would be to allow the rule to be 
adjusted, rather than wipe it away all together.
  For all the positive talk about bipartisanship that has been heard in 
recent weeks, we have seen remarkably little on this matter. Debate has 
been stifled, and instead of forging a compromise between both sides 
that allowed the rule to be adjusted, this vote was taken to completely 
eliminate the rule.
  I believe that this repeal will be a serious blow to working people 
in the United States. These ergonomic standards were designed to curb 
repetitive motion injuries for American workers in a wide-range of 
professions, including nurses, cashiers, truck drivers, construction 
workers, meat cutters, and those who operate computers. These are all 
people who are especially susceptible to injuries--which are often 
times crippling--caused by repetitive motion, heavy lifting, and 
forceful exertion.
  In 1999, it was estimated that more than 600,000 people suffered from 
such injuries, and they account for one-third of all serious job-
related injuries a year, making them the leading safety and health 
problem in today's workplaces.
  I believe these standards would have resulted in savings to the 
companies that have opposed them. This issue concerns people who, 
because of their injuries, are unable to work and provide for their 
families and for themselves, and that causes lost productivity, which 
results in economic loss for business and the country. In 1999, the 
Bureau of Labor Standards estimated that the cost of these injuries is 
$45-50 billion each year. These injuries account for perhaps a third of 
employers' costs under state worker compensation laws.
  So despite abundant evidence pointing in the direction of needed 
ergonomic standards for workplaces, this rule has been repealed, and 
the safety of working people has been ignored.
  Ms. HOOLEY of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly rise in opposition 
of this resolution.
  Coming from Oregon, I represent an area of the country where small 
businesses and family farms are the backbone of our local economy. As 
such, I'm extremely sympathetic to the concerns of the men and women 
who own these businesses, many of whom have contacted me in the last 
couple of weeks. After all, you can't have jobs without businesses.
  I know that the OSHA regulation which we're about to kill is going to 
have unintended consequences. Any time a business is faced with further 
government regulations you're looking at increased paperwork and having 
to deal with federal employees who, lets be honest, sometimes can be 
difficult to work with.
  For example, just last week I talked with a friend who owns a small 
hotel. Anyone who's been to Oregon knows it's one of the most beautiful 
places in the world, and we're heavily dependent on tourism. This 
person was overwhelmed by the proposed standard and rightly worried 
that he'd wind up being fined or lose his business because Washington 
had implemented a better mousetrap for Oregon. He didn't know if his 
employees would be limited in the number of bags they could pick up or 
how many stairs they'd be limited in climbing and hadn't had any luck 
in finding out the answers to his questions from OSHA.
  Now when you're in my position and you're trying to do what's best 
for your district and for everyone who lives and works there, it's 
impossible not to be affected by legitimate concerns about the cost and 
application of the ergonomics standard.
  That said, even with the potential problems that are posed by this 
regulation, I can't in good conscience vote for this resolution.
  That's because ergonomic injuries and the pain they inflict on 
hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees are not a feat of the 
imagination, and if we don't act, they're not going to go away.
  In the past 4 years, there have been three comprehensive reviews of 
the science identifying the cause of these injuries. Their conclusions 
have been consistent: exposure to ergonomic hazards in the workplace 
causes injuries, and these injuries can be prevented through 
interventions in the workplace.
  In fact, no less an authority than the National Academy of Sciences 
was ordered by Congress to report on ergonomics and whether the related 
injuries actually existed, and if so, if these injuries were 
preventable. For those of you who don't know, the Academy was created 
by Congress nearly 140 years ago to provide scientific and technical 
advice to our government. Since its inception, the Academy has made 
recommendations to our government that vary from using long-lasting 
metal for the name markers on fallen soldiers' tombstones to creating 
the U.S. Geological Service and the National Forest Service--both of 
which play an important role in Oregon.
  Well, in its congressionally mandated report, the Academy of Sciences 
found there is ``clear and compelling evidence'' that musculoskeletal 
disorders (MSD's) are caused by certain types of work--and that those 
injuries can be reduced and prevented through workplace interventions. 
Add that report to the past 10 years in which the Department of Labor--
in consultation with business, labor, and Congress--has worked to enact 
a fair, enforceable rule to protect America's workers from the real 
harm caused by ergonomic injuries.
  But now, in the face of unrelenting pressure, we're not only about to 
cast aside 10 years of hard work, but Congress is about to prohibit 
OSHA from issuing a similar ergonomics rule in the future. And it's not 
just the 600,000 workers who every year are injured by repetitive 
motion that would suffer, but their families and their communities as 
  Thanks to carpal tunnel syndrome she acquired at her job at city 
hall, Mom might not be able to pick up her infant when he is sick or 
his older sister if she gets scared of the dark or correct homework 
because she can't hold a pencil. Dad might not be able to play catch 
with the kids or help them finish that science project because of the 
repetitive injuries he's suffered to his back after years of working 
the same saw at the local mill.
  And because maybe Mom or Dad can no longer work the hours they used 
to or even stay in the same jobs, they can't buy as many groceries or 
another car or give their kids spending money to go see a movie with 
their friends or buy a comic book at the local mall.
  So there's more to this issue that whether or not the OSHA regulation 
is confusing or that it will cost money to implement--in the long run, 
we know that employers will recoup the costs by providing a safe 
workplace and that consumers will have more money to spend.
  While I certainly sympathize with the business owners and 
entrepreneurs who feel this rule infringes on their rights, the 
evidence is clear that by doing nothing we're not only harming millions 
of Americans, but harming our economy as well.
  This is the biggest occupational health crisis affecting American 
workers today, and I urge my colleagues to allow OSHA to protect them 
from ergonomics injuries and to oppose this resolution.
  Ms. KILPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, according to the National Science 
Foundation, over 1 million people suffer musculoskeletal disorders 
which cost the nation between $45 billion and $54 billion in 
compensation expenditures, lost wages, and decreased productivity. The 
National Science Foundation and other research institutions studied 
this issue and they came to the conclusion that these injuries can be 
reduced substantially with well-designed workplaces.
  It was the Administration of President George H. W. Bush that 
established the relationship of ergonomically designed jobs and work-
related illnesses in 1989. The results of a Labor Department study 
investigation found that flawed workplace designs is one of the leading 
causes of work-related illnesses and employers' costs under state 
workers' compensation laws. In response to these findings,

[[Page 3079]]

the Labor Department--under a different administration, the Clinton 
administration--issued a proposed ergonomic standard for public comment 
in 1994.
  But Congress intervened in the rulemaking process. Congress adopted 
language in the fiscal year 1995 Labor Department spending bill that 
prohibited the Department from issuing a final standard. Subsequent 
prohibitions were congressionally imposed in fiscal years 1996 and 
  In October 1998, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report 
that identified a significant statistical link between workplace 
exposures and musculoskeletal disorders. OSHA issued a draft rule in 
1999 and published a final rule by November 2000.
  In the course of this issue's 10-year history, distinguished Members 
on the other side of the aisle have sought to kill this effort to 
promote workplace safety. We find ourselves here again debating an 
issue that threatens to expose millions of hard working Americans to 
workplace hazards due to jobs that require repetitive movements and 
muscular stress.
  Supporters of this joint resolution advance the argument that if this 
resolution of disapproval is enacted, the Bush administration will 
pursue a comprehensive approach to ergonomics. It's hard to take that 
argument seriously when the other side has consistently and 
persistently opposed every effort by the Labor Department to issue an 
ergonomic standard.
  Moreover, the interests that oppose the current ergonomic rule cite 
that the costs of complying with the standard are likely to be $90 or 
$100 billion. But they do not cite the cost savings to businesses in 
workers' compensation costs and lost productivity. According to OSHA, 
the estimates are that the standard will cost American businesses $4.5 
billion annually, but it will also save businesses $9.1 billion in 
workers' compensation costs and lost productivity.
  The special interests who support this resolution of disapproval are 
the same interests who argued that the Family and Medical Leave Act of 
1993 would impose too much of a cost and administrative burden on 
employers. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
  The special interests who support this resolution of disapproval are 
the same interests who argued that increasing the minimum wage in 1996 
would weaken the economy and reduce job growth. They were wrong then 
and they are wrong now.
  The special interests that support this resolution of disapproval 
argue that the ergonomic standard is too burdensome and costly for 
employers to implement. They are wrong now and they will be proven 
wrong in the future.
  How can an ergonomic standard be burdensome to an employer when the 
employer is vested with the responsibility of determining whether an 
employee injury is work related? It's not the federal government 
determining if the employee's injury is work related. It's the 
employer! How can the opponents of this standard honestly suggest that 
bureaucrats are imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to workplace 
safety when it is the employer who determines how best to deal with 
ergonomic problems in their workforce?
  One can only conclude that supporters of the resolution of 
disapproval are the same forces who have little regard for workplace 
safety and are long-time opponents of the Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration.
  If you support workplace justice, if you support the right of people 
to work in a healthy environment, if you support basic human decency, 
then I urge my colleagues to vote against this resolution.
  Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose S.J. Res. 6, a 
resolution to disapprove the ergonomics regulation promulgated by the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration in January. I will vote 
to uphold this regulation because I believe that worker safety must be 
our first priority. This process was originated a decade ago during the 
first Bush administration, and there is more than sufficient evidence 
to show the devastating impact of these injuries on the workforce. In 
1998 alone, ergonomic injuries caused 26,734 employees in Illinois to 
miss at least one day of work, and cost employees and employers in the 
State an estimated $2.3 billion.
  However, I also understand the concern that the regulation may 
overreach in some areas. The best way to address this concern is to let 
the rule stand, and then work to modify it. The approach we are taking 
today threatens any future action on this issue, by not allowing a 
similar rule to be enacted at a later date. It is my hope that if this 
resolution passes Secretary of Labor Chao will, as she has previously 
stated, continue to pursue a comprehensive approach to ergonomics and 
that a regulation with wide support will be enacted in the near future 
to protect working men and women in Illinois and across the nation.
  Mr. Speaker, the success of this resolution must not become a 
tremendous loss for workers across the country. I hope this body will 
continue to give this topic the attention that it deserves.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hansen). All time for debate has 
  Pursuant to House Resolution 79, the Senate joint resolution is 
considered as having been read for amendment, and the previous question 
is ordered.
  The question is on the third reading of the Senate joint resolution.
  The Senate joint resolution was ordered to be read a third time, and 
was read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the Senate 
joint resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on 
the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order 
that a quorum is not present.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently a quorum is not present.
  The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 223, 
nays 206, not voting 4, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 33]


     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Carson (OK)
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Davis, Tom
     Green (WI)
     Hall (TX)
     Hastings (WA)
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     Kennedy (MN)
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Lucas (OK)
     Miller (FL)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Peterson (PA)
     Pryce (OH)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Ryan (WI)
     Ryun (KS)
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (TX)
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Watts (OK)
     Weldon (FL)
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)


     Brady (PA)
     Brown (FL)
     Brown (OH)
     Carson (IN)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (FL)
     Davis (IL)

[[Page 3080]]

     Green (TX)
     Hall (OH)
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kind (WI)
     King (NY)
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lucas (KY)
     Maloney (CT)
     Maloney (NY)
     McCarthy (MO)
     McCarthy (NY)
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Miller, George
     Moran (VA)
     Peterson (MN)
     Price (NC)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (WA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Watt (NC)
     Weldon (PA)

                             NOT VOTING--4


                              {time}  1926

  Mr. HORN changed his vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
  Mr. SANDLIN changed his vote from ``present'' to ``nay.''
  So the Senate joint resolution was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.