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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bush Leaves the Fox Guarding the Hen House at OSHA

Is it just a dream comes true for business owners to know that this President has their backs when it comes to the $12 dollar per our employee and the fight for a safe work place? Placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the doors at OSHA is pretty much what we have today thanks to this sitting President.

I’m sure that the President has a very good explanation why he thinks that workers safety is not part of the “Decider” mission statement. If all of those pesky workers were smart then they would have contributed just as much as the rich business owners to the Republican Party. Then the “Decider” could have been moved to at least pretend that he cares about the working class of America before he gutted OSHA and its enforcement policies. OSHA is a gelding and the martinis are being toasted over a job well done by the millionaires club of lax business owners.

I could not make this stuff up if I wanted to and the good people over at The New York times have this to say on it…

Picture Courtesy of The

OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry

Published: April 25, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 24 — Seven years ago, a Missouri doctor discovered a troubling pattern at a microwave popcorn plant in the town of Jasper. After an additive was modified to produce a more buttery taste, nine workers came down with a rare, life-threatening disease that was ravaging their lungs.

Puzzled Missouri health authorities turned to two federal agencies in Washington. Scientists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which investigates the causes of workplace health problems, moved quickly to examine patients, inspect factories and run tests. Within months, they concluded that the workers became ill after exposure to diacetyl, a food-flavoring agent.

But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, charged with overseeing workplace safety, reacted with far less urgency. It did not step up plant inspections or mandate safety standards for businesses, even as more workers became ill.

On Tuesday, the top official at the agency told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing that it would prepare a safety bulletin and plan to inspect a few dozen of the thousands of food plants that use the additive.

That response reflects OSHA’s practices under the Bush administration, which vowed to limit new rules and roll back what it considered cumbersome regulations that imposed unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers. Across Washington, political appointees — often former officials of the industries they now oversee — have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.

Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court.
- The New York Times

The only key sentence in this piece is the very last one that I posted. It does not take much to understand President Bush and his mentality of your safety in a manufacturing job. The only action taken for your safety in the work place didn’t even come from him. It came from a judge sitting on a bench in a court of law.

President Harry Truman used to have a plaque on his desk that simply read “The Buck Stops Here!” He had that little notice on his desk because he despised waste in our government and was the first to go after war profiteers. I’d like to take up a collection to get one for President George W. Bush and his desk in the oval office. “Good Government, Insert Check Here!”

It gets worse…

Instead of regulations, Mr. Foulke and top officials at other agencies favor a “voluntary compliance strategy,” reaching agreements with industry associations and companies to police themselves.


“OSHA has been focusing on the best companies in their voluntary protection program while doing nothing in the area of standard setting,” said Peg Seminario, the director of occupational safety and health at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “They’ve simply gotten out of the standard-setting business in favor of industry partnerships that have no teeth.”

Wait it gets even worse… Mind you I am not making this up…

The agency had long been the target of businesses that criticized its rules as arbitrary, costly and confusing. Three of the biggest industries regulated by OSHA — transportation, agribusiness and construction — have given more than $630 million in political campaign contributions since 2000, with nearly three-quarters of that money going to Republicans. The Bush administration has promised to address their concerns.

Now if you read the article and come away with the same conclusion that I did then the only way to fix workplace safety is to sign a big ass disgusting contribution check over to the Republicans. That check will have a magical effect and make real government regulations simply disappear. All those pesky work place insignificant situations that could possibly take your life are instantly fixed. More good government is available from our friends over on the political right for just a few measly dollars.

I am not saying that all business owners do not care about the people that work for them but there are far too many that push the envelope of their employees safety. In many manufacturing businesses the quickest solution to fixing a work related injury is to hound the injured worker till they quit. Does that practice solve the initial root cause of the injury?

I suppose from the CEO’s desk this President is like a God to his or her bottom line. It is President’s like George W. Bush that were so much in bed with the Barons of industry of the past that made the necessities of strong Unions to preserve the safety and rights of the working class. What I find very humorous about this article and this subject regarding OSHA is the fact that the agency was created by a Republican President. Richard M. Nixon, the man most would call a criminal had vision into the working class and what our government needed to do to protect its work force.

In less than two terms as President we as a nation have become the servants of the mega rich and big business. George Orwell was right in his book; he just had the year off.


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