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When OSHA Got Bushified

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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The Bush gang? Ignoring the public's interests, politicizing a key federal agency, and advancing corporate interests above all else? You don't say.

In early 2001, an epidemiologist at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sought to publish a special bulletin warning dental technicians that they could be exposed to dangerous beryllium alloys while grinding fillings. Health studies showed that even a single day's exposure at the agency's permitted level could lead to incurable lung disease.

After the bulletin was drafted, political appointees at the agency gave a copy to a lobbying firm hired by the country's principal beryllium manufacturer, according to internal OSHA documents. The epidemiologist, Peter Infante, incorporated what he considered reasonable changes requested by the company and won approval from key directorates, but he bristled when the private firm complained again.

"In my 24 years at the Agency, I have never experienced such indecision and delay," Infante wrote in an e-mail to the agency's director of standards in March 2002. Eventually, top OSHA officials decided, over what Infante described in an e-mail to his boss as opposition from "the entire OSHA staff working on beryllium issues," to publish the bulletin with a footnote challenging a key recommendation the firm opposed.

Current and former career officials at OSHA say that such sagas were a recurrent feature during the Bush administration, as political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of workplace health regulations, slow-rolled others, and altered the reach of its warnings and rules in response to industry pressure.

In all, under Bush, 86% fewer rules were found economically significant as compared to a similar period during the Clinton years.

By all appearances, this administration barely wants OSHA to even exist, so I suppose it stands to reason that Bush political appointees would gut the agency and turn to lobbyists to help guide OSHA's decision making. Indeed, it's hard to count just how many regulatory agencies have, under this president, effectively been run by the business interests it was supposed to be regulating.

Just another addition to the long list of government departments that Obama is going to have to fix.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

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The Bush gang? Ignoring the public's interests, politicizing a key federal agency, and advancing corporate interests above all else? You don't say.

In early 2001, an epidemiologist at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sought to publish a special bulletin warning dental technicians that they could be exposed to dangerous beryllium alloys while grinding fillings. Health studies showed that even a single day's exposure at the agency's permitted level could lead to incurable lung disease.

After the bulletin was drafted, political appointees at the agency gave a copy to a lobbying firm hired by the country's principal beryllium manufacturer, according to internal OSHA documents. The epidemiologist, Peter Infante, incorporated what he considered reasonable changes requested by the company and won approval from key directorates, but he bristled when the private firm complained again.

"In my 24 years at the Agency, I have never experienced such indecision and delay," Infante wrote in an e-mail to the agency's director of standards in March 2002. Eventually, top OSHA officials decided, over what Infante described in an e-mail to his boss as opposition from "the entire OSHA staff working on beryllium issues," to publish the bulletin with a footnote challenging a key recommendation the firm opposed.

Current and former career officials at OSHA say that such sagas were a recurrent feature during the Bush administration, as political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of workplace health regulations, slow-rolled others, and altered the reach of its warnings and rules in response to industry pressure.

In all, under Bush, 86% fewer rules were found economically significant as compared to a similar period during the Clinton years.

By all appearances, this administration barely wants OSHA to even exist, so I suppose it stands to reason that Bush political appointees would gut the agency and turn to lobbyists to help guide OSHA's decision making. Indeed, it's hard to count just how many regulatory agencies have, under this president, effectively been run by the business interests it was supposed to be regulating.

Just another addition to the long list of government departments that Obama is going to have to fix.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

Obama has a mighty long to do list. Too long to do it all. I hope he gets the economy back on track, creates employment, stimulates spending etc. That will be a good thing.


R.I.P Spooky 2004-2015

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Colombia
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I have a different opinion on this, each individual should know what toxic chemicals they are working with and employ the proper safety equipment, just about any product lists the hazards of certain substances.

Maybe we should have the government take us by the hand to safely cross the street. Was already fined by OSHA because they saw a small can of WD-40 in my plant, not that it is available at practically any store and you don't stick the nozzle up your nose and pull the trigger.

Besides having the most expensive government operated school system in the world with the dumbest kids, we also have the highest product liability suing rate in the world. Like over a 1/4 trillion bucks! And if either the EPA, FDA, or OSHA over looks really a hazard product, you cannot sue them. We turned into a nation where everybody tries to blame someone else for their own stupidity.

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Filed: Country: Belarus
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I have a different opinion on this, each individual should know what toxic chemicals they are working with and employ the proper safety equipment, just about any product lists the hazards of certain substances.

Maybe we should have the government take us by the hand to safely cross the street. Was already fined by OSHA because they saw a small can of WD-40 in my plant, not that it is available at practically any store and you don't stick the nozzle up your nose and pull the trigger.

Besides having the most expensive government operated school system in the world with the dumbest kids, we also have the highest product liability suing rate in the world. Like over a 1/4 trillion bucks! And if either the EPA, FDA, or OSHA over looks really a hazard product, you cannot sue them. We turned into a nation where everybody tries to blame someone else for their own stupidity.

I have to agree. The twits that write these hatchet job articles such as this one probably have never actually worked in any industrial or mineral extracting endevour. Some of the regulations are and can be nit-picking and petty.

Having worked in the offshore oil industry for 25 years I have seen some terrible accidents that have maimed, killed, destroyed equipment, etc. To say that the corporations profit from these disasters is ridiculous. It is quit the opposite. Often it is the incompetence and malfeasance of individual workers that end up being the root cause of many of these catastophies in spite of sh*tloads of laws and regulations. Lazy people cut corners and don't follow company policy and government regulations.

The Minerals Management Service within the US Department of Interior is the catch all regulatory agent that oversees the offshore oil industry. I've dealt with them for many years and they are no lapdog for the oil industry. They have been just as tough in enforcing regulations under Bush as they were when Clinton was in office. They will shut in a facility or shut down projects in a heatbeat and assess fines for non-compliance.


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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