ATA Asks Labor Secretary to Withdraw Ergonomics Rule
March 2, 2000
The American Trucking Assn's says a new ergonomics standard proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is unconstitutional.
"This overreaching proposal is based on junk science," ATA president Walter McCormick Jr. said in comments filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. "Further, it will cost the trucking industry $6 billion to put into place. We can't afford to pay this massive price for something that won't work. It makes more sense to spend precious dollars on common sense workplace safety plans based on real world trucking industry experience."
McCormick cited the Labor Department's own statistics which show that employment in the trucking and warehousing industry rose from 1.67 million in 1997 to 1.74 million in 1998, an increase of approximately 4%; yet injuries and illness in the industry dropped from 170,000 in 1997 to 145,700 in 1998, down 14%. That data, said McCormick, is reason enough to question the need for more government regulation.
OSHA's proposed rule would require employers to establish ergonomics programs for workers in manufacturing and manual handling jobs as well as jobs identified later as high risk for musculoskeletal disorders. ATA says the program should be withdrawn entirely. If OSHA won't do that it should at least exclude trucking as it has done for maritime, construction and agriculture operations.