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the environmental protection agency sucks at protecting the environment

that’s actually old news, but what i really meant to write was that the occupational safety and health administration sucks at ensuring the safety and health of U.S. workers.

“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 agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others. For example, OSHA has repeatedly identified silica dust, which can cause lung cancer, and construction site noise as health hazards that warrant new safeguards for nearly three million workers, but it has yet to require them.
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.
Administration officials say such programs are less costly, allowing companies to hire more workers and keep consumer prices down.”

yes, please hire more underpaid workers so you can spread your misery to more and more poor people. UGH. i’m no socialist but this is absurd.

interestingly enough, OSHA ranks number 87 out of 222 federal government subagencies when it comes to employee satisfaction, while the department of labor (its umbrella agency) ranks 15 out of 30. don’t you think a government agency dedicated to tracking the U.S. workforce should somehow have happier workers? that they have something to learn from all the businesses they study? as i’ve been told before, i expect too much.

p.s. while you’re at it, check out my story on the rankings. no, i was not smart enough to find it on my own.

5 Responses to “ the environmental protection agency sucks at protecting the environment ”

  1. Andy "Wang2K" Wang said:

    “OSHA ranks number 87 out of 222 federal government subagencies when it comes to employee satisfaction, while the department of labor (its umbrella agency) ranks 15 out of 30. don’t you think a government agency dedicated to tracking the U.S. workforce should somehow have happier workers?”

    I don’t think that’s a fair association. That’s like saying, shouldn’t the employees of the NBA, who is dedicated to basketball, somehow have workers who are all awesome at basketball?

    Plus, tracking the US workforce is boring, and I never met a happy OSHA auditer, and OSHA makes everyone unhappy cause of the extra paperwork and shit so when I read that I was actually surprised it was in the bottom 10.

    And OSHA has made people safer & healthier. Ever heard of ergonomics? Flammable vs combustible? Lockout/tagout? Bloodborne pathogens? Process Safety Mgmt? Those are just off the top of my head but I’m sure they’ve done more.

    Maybe they haven’t done anything recently, I’m not read up on that, but implying that OSHA hasn’t done anything in my opinion is irresponsible reporting.

    Love you ali.
    -Andy “Industry Rat” Wang

  2. alison said:

    my complaints with OSHA have more to do with what’s going on lately. the country is better with OSHA than without. same with the EPA. i never said they haven’t done anything, i just said they “suck.” totally different things!
    OSHA’s mission statement is to “assure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards,” while the EPA’s is to “protect human health and the environment.”
    i’m pretty sure passing the buck is not anywhere in the mission statement.

    finally the last 3rd of my post is clearly a non sequitur, which is my favorite form of (non)logic. it’s also my favorite comic strip, after perry bible fellowship.

  3. Andy "Wang2K" Wang said:

    I just love how reporters always justify the seriousness of something by adding, “can cause X cancer”. In this case, lung.

    the “voluntary compliance strategy” is implemented because there is no way for OSHA to effectively monitor all industries unless you implement this voluntary strategy. They have companies self-govern their safety and like the IRS will audit to guarantee shit.

    All I’m saying is that this article is drenched in opinion and voiced in a subtly persuasive tone.

    It’s kinda funny though since I’ve worked in industry I see both sides of the argument. What’s even more funny is that you’ll say, “Damn, OSHA should impose more of these gov’t regulations to protect the workers” and then on the flipside if you were the manager you’d be like “Damn, OSHA is such a pain in the ass, violating our corporate privacy, disrupting our day-to-day work, and reducing our profitability.” See? Both sides.

    Love you

  4. alison said:

    of course regulation costs money and cuts into corporations’ profitability and disrupts day-to-day productivity. i get why it’d be annoying for a manager, but a small price to pay if it means better ability to ensure health and wellness of workers. for companies who do a good job of policing themselves and think voluntary compliance is enough for them, then good for them. unfortunately, there are plenty of bad apples out there that ruin it for everyone else. i wish OSHA didn’t have to bug the good companies, but if it means getting the bad ones, then so be it.
    and i question the value of corporate privacy in general. i wish people put more value on transparency. besides trade secrets and etc, companies that value social and environmental responsibility have little need for privacy anyway. problem is, most don’t.
    do i think OSHA can fix all workplace problems? of course not, but what’s the point of a regulatory agency that doesn’t even attempt to put pressure on corporations. maybe self-policing works (and i can believe it on a small scale), but i have very serious doubts. even if the majority of consumers are good, i don’t think the industry will correct itself in the realm of human rights.
    i basically don’t trust the industry to do the right thing. inherently, businesses have the bottom line in mind. someone out there has to be thinking about the workers or environment or whatever else gets lost in the fray. pre-bush OSHA wasn’t perfect or ideal, but what’s going on now is not better. in my opinion, it’s far worse.

    but i agree that the sob story in this article is a bit much. i wish it didn’t detract from the point that OSHA handing over enforcement power could be a very scary thing.

  5. alison said:

    speaking of corporate responsibility … i’m writing an e-mail to wal-mart right now. very fitting.

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