Industry and Regulators in Disagreement over Injuries Cause by Repetitive Motion
Millions of American workers who spend hours doing repetitive-motion jobs often experience pain caused by strained muscles. This affliction was the primary cause why 28% of the workers were absent from their jobs in 2009.
This was the reason why labor regulators vowed to pressure employers into reducing jobs that are likely to result in such injuries. However, this may be easier said than done because the industry is not about to give in immediately.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, representing over 3 million businesses in America, has vigorously lobbied against such regulation. Their actions apparently bore fruit because just last week, it seemed that the administration is taking a step back from their earlier pronouncements.
The proposed rule that required employers to keep a record of repetitive-motion injuries was withdrawn by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This move followed after President Obama issued an order last Jan. 18 directing regulatory agencies to review and scuttle rules that are putting “unreasonable burdens on business.”
A proposed interpretation of noise standards was also withdrawn by OSHA. Such action can
potentially cause employers, who already provide ear protectors to their employees, to retrofit their equipment in order to make it quieter.
Peg Seminario, the director of safety and health for the AFL-CIO, said, “We are angry and are disappointed by this.” He further said, “If the administration is going to respond to something that should have been a small deal, we’re quite concerned about what this might mean for things that have a broad impact.”
Despite this attempt of the administration to placate the situation, the looming conflict between federal regulators and businesses continues to brew.