On March 20, President Bush signed a repeal of new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace safety regulations, saying they posed "overwhelming compliance challenges" for businesses, according to an Associated Press report. The measure, revoking rules issued late in the Clinton administration, was the first substantive policy that Bush signed into law.
The OSHA rules were aimed at preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and other health problems associated with repetitive motion, awkward postures, contact stress and the like. If such injuries were reported by workers, the rules would have required adjustments to work stations. Businesses, which were given until October to comply, said the required changes would have cost them as much as $100 billion a year.
Bush has asked Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to devise a cheaper way of addressing workplace safety. "There needs to be a balance between and an understanding of the costs and benefits associated with federal regulations," the President said in a statement. "The ergonomics rule would have cost both large and small employers billions of dollars and presented employers with overwhelming compliance challenges."
Earlier the same day, Bush told women business leaders he would sign the legislation because it represented change "that I believe is positive."
"The rule would have applied a bureaucratic one-size-fits-all solution to a broad range of employers and workers-not good government at work," he added.