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Following on the heels of a 56 to 44 vote in the US Senate on Tuesday March 6, 2001, the House voted Wednesday, 223 to 206, to kill the Clinton administration's workplace safety regulations. The regulations would have required employers to ergonomically redesign workplaces and compensate employees for work-related, repetitive-motion injuries. The rules would have forced employers to provide their employees with information about the possibility of work-related injuries and risk factors, review workers' complaints, and ensure access to medical care. The regulations were opposed by many business groups who saw the measures as unworkable and too expensive. The estimated costs of updating US workplaces were as much as $100 billion. However, labor organizations that lobbied for the regulations believe they are essential because they could prevent as many as 500,000 injuries each year. The rules would have also forced corporations to focus on the prevention of common workplace injuries that debilitated workers for months, if not years. The repealing of the rules, in the Senate in particular, is seen as a great victory for the Bush administration, uncertain about its power in a Senate split 50/50 between the two parties. In order to kill the rules, the House and Senate used the Congressional Review Act, an obscure law that allows Congress to overturn any federal regulation less than 60 days old that it opposes. The White House issued a statement on Tuesday explaining that the regulations "would cost employers, large and small, billions of dollars annually while providing uncertain new benefits."
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