By a close margin, 217-209, the House cleared a measure blocking the rules until the National Academy of Sciences completes a study that is due in 2001.
OSHA's proposal would require employers, including trucking companies, to establish comprehensive programs to protect workers from injuries attributed to repetitive motion, lifting objects or other work-related activities.
OSHA says the rules are needed to reduce "musculoskeletal disorders" such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and strained back. Opponents, including the American Trucking Assns., say the agency's rules are unscientific and impossible to enforce.
Supporters of the bill are reported to be looking for a must-pass Senate measure to which it can be attached. The Clinton administration, which is pushing for the ergonomic rules, has threatened a veto.