Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Ergonomics Rule Faces Hurdles

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Ergonomics Rule Faces Hurdles

Article excerpt

After close to 20 years of work, OSHA's final ergonomics standard is scheduled to take effect Jan. 16, but the fight over the rule is far from over. Industry opponents are mounting serious legal and political challenges to the standard that could delay its enforcement, modify its provisions or kill it.

Until now, attention was focused on congressional efforts to stop OSHA from promulgating the rule through the power of the purse strings. The front lines have shifted now that the standard has come out. "It would be imprudent for business to count on the politicians," said one Washington insider close to the scene of the ergonomics conflict. "The legal challenge is the real battleground now."

See You in Court

Although more than 60 business groups and individual companies filed suits against OSHA in federal courts around the country, all the cases were consolidated into a single action in a federal circuit court chosen by lottery.

Where the case is heard is important because some courts are friendlier to OSHA than others. In early December, sources close to industry's litigation said the District of Columbia (D. …

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