Text: H.R.987 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (08/04/1999)

[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 987 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 987



                             August 4, 1999

     Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, 
                     Education, Labor, and Pensions


                                 AN ACT

To require the Secretary of Labor to wait for completion of a National 
 Academy of Sciences study before promulgating a standard or guideline 
                             on ergonomics.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Workplace Preservation Act''.


    (a) Congress finds the following:
            (1) The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health 
        Administration (OSHA) has announced that it plans to propose 
        regulations during 1999 to regulate ``ergonomics'' in the 
        workplace. A draft of OSHA's ergonomics regulation became 
        available in January 1999.
            (2) A July, 1997, report by the National Institute for 
        Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviewing 
        epidemiological studies that have been conducted of ``work 
        related musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, upper extremity, 
        and low back'' showed that there is insufficient evidence to 
        assess the level of risk to workers from repetitive motions. 
        Such characterization would be necessary to write an efficient 
        and effective regulation.
            (3) An August 1998, workshop on ``work related 
        musculoskeletal injuries'' held by the National Academy of 
        Sciences also reviewed existing research on musculoskeletal 
        disorders. It also showed that there is insufficient evidence 
        to assess the level of risk to workers from repetitive motions.
            (4) The risk of OSHA imposing a ``solution'' to ailments 
        and disorders that are grouped as ``repetitive stress 
        injuries'' and ``musculoskeletal disorders'' before sufficient 
        information about the diagnosis, causes, and prevention of such 
        injuries and disorders is shown by the fact that such disorders 
        have often increased in workplaces and industries in which OSHA 
        has focused ergonomics-related enforcement actions under the 
        General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 
        while such disorders have been decreasing in workplaces 
            (5) In October, 1998, Congress and the President agreed 
        upon a comprehensive study by the National Academy of Science 
        of the medical and scientific evidence regarding 
        musculoskeletal disorders. The study is intended to evaluate 
        the basic questions about diagnosis and causes of such 
        disorders. Given the level of uncertainty and dispute about 
        these basic questions, and Congress' intention that they be 
        addressed in a comprehensive study by the National Academy of 
        Science, it is premature for OSHA to decide that a regulation 
        on ergonomics is necessary or appropriate to improving workers' 
        health and safety before such study is completed.
            (6) The estimated costs of OSHA's proposed ergonomics 
        regulation range from OSHA's low national estimate of 
        $20,000,000,000 to some single industry costs of 
        $18,000,000,000 to $30,000,000,000. Any regulation with this 
        potential impact on the Nation's economy merits a sound 
        scientific and medical foundation.


    The Secretary of Labor, acting through the Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration, may not promulgate or issue any standard or 
guideline on ergonomics until the National Academy of Sciences--
            (1) completes a peer-reviewed scientific study of the 
        available evidence examining a cause and effect relationship 
        between repetitive tasks in the workplace and musculoskeletal 
        disorders or repetitive stress injuries; and
            (2) submits to Congress a report setting forth the findings 
        resulting from such study.

            Passed the House of Representatives August 3, 1999.


                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,


                              By Martha C. Morrison,

                                                          Deputy Clerk.