Bush Signs Law Repealing Clinton Ergonomics Rules
President Bush yesterday signed legislation repealing ergonomic regulations promulgated by the Clinton administration, calling the rules "unduly burdensome and overly broad," the Washington Post reports. The rules were scheduled to take effect in October. The Department of Labor has begun work on a "business-friendlier" substitute to the Clinton regulations, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will continue to investigate workplace safety complaints. White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said Bush "believes that we can protect the health and safety of workers without passing a regulation that is terribly burdensome to the economy and to the small businesses on which their growth depends." The Post reports that Republicans view the repeal as a "major step" in diminishing President Clinton's "regulatory legacy." (Allen, Washington Post, 3/21). However, the repeal was a "big political loss" for labor unions. Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO, said, "It's not a good way to start out the new Congress. It used to be that worker safety standards were not that controversial" (Strope, AP/Hartford Courant, 3/21). After signing the legislation, Bush issued a statement, saying, "The safety and health of our nation's workforce is a priority for my administration. Together, we will pursue a comprehensive approach to ergonomics that addresses the concerns surrounding the ergonomics rule repealed today" (Washington Post, 3/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.