|January 22, 2001|
IT Industry Opposes Impending Ergonomics Rules
Lawsuit says regulations, set to take effect this month, place unfair burdens on employers
|More on IT workers:|
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"For technology professionals to be told they can't work, or to have to limit their time on the computer--it's devastating," says ergonomist Gary Orr.
But enforcement won't begin until mid-October, giving companies time to make adjustments. And with the incoming Bush administration, the legislation could change.
That would please the Information Technology Association of America, which opposes the standard, saying it will be too costly to administer. "By and large, IT companies address the [ergonomics] issue aggressively," says ITAA VP Jeff Lande. "They want to do right by their employees, and they can't afford to let jobs go vacant with the IT labor shortfall."
The Society for Human Resource Management filed suit in November to block the standard, arguing that the rule places unfair compliance burdens on employers. Among other things, the suit objects to OSHA-mandated wage controls. The legislation requires that workers who switch to light duty or other jobs receive 100% of their wages, and workers forced to take a sick leave from their jobs because of musculoskeletal disorders receive 90% of their wages for 90 days or until they're ready to return, whichever comes first.
Meanwhile, the National Academy of Sciences last week released a report that cites psychosocial factors associated with upper-extremity injuries, which are common among IT workers. The list includes high levels of stress on the job and high job demands.
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