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Ergonomics rules worry businesses

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Renita Jablonski: The elections are still a month and a half away but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is already looking ahead to the next Congress. The business group worries whispers of new ergonomics regulations could now blossom into full-blown legislation next year. They're trying to slow momentum with a forum today. Rachel Dorhelm has more.


Rachel Dornhelm: Ergonomics regulations almost become law in 2000. Estimates then put compliance costs at $4.5 billion a year. But Marc Freedman, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says today's forum will show there's little scientific evidence for regulation.

Marc Freedman: In the question of ergonomics, you don't have those types of thresholds that are established and you do not have any specific remedies that are agreed upon.

Cornell ergonomics professor Alan Hedge agrees there are few conclusive studies in the field. But that doesn't mean that therefore you have to be totally incapacitated that there's no possible regulation. Hedge says most large firms have already put voluntary ergonomic programs in place. Small- to medium-sized firms would be hit hardest by any new regulations.

I'm Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.

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