Friday, April 10, 2009

Food for Thought

An OSHA friend recently forwarded me an e-mail conversation he had with one of his friends about what direction OSHA should head. Here's the part that really got me thinking:
"If I'm safety czar, I end fatalities first, permanent disability second. We need a motor vehicle standard, and better tools to enforce fall protection - almost always top 3 in fats. Ergo to me is a huge can of worms because even with a standard you WILL get tied up in court forever - it may take legislation rather than a standard to fix that problem."
The e-mailer went on to say:
"I will add also that I am very much in favor of quick adoption of consensus standards...One easy fix to the problem, at least in my opinion, is allow us to adopt a consensus standard under the Direct Final process, but it becomes a temporary rule - no longer than 2 years, but rulemaking is limited to just the sections that have substantive objections. If more than say, 3 parties object to the same provisions, or more than 50% of the rule is objected to by different parties, it goes back to 6B."
I don't necessarily agree with the fatalities first idea because I think we're capable of working on multiple fronts. But then, I already know what I think, I want to know what other people think, where should we start?


  1. OSHA needs leadership from the 19 SES employees, not passive caretaking. For those SES employees that care, now is the time to step up and demonstrate your leadership in implementing positive change. If you don't who will? Change, Hope, Transparency. OSHA exists for the worker. Remember that Mission Statement put out last year. Yeah,the one that has existed since 1970.


  3. I agree. I think that we should step up to the plate and demonstrate to employers that we are leaders. Does any one know what our TCIR/MSDs/etc rates are for the field? NO?

    We should do everything that is required of the employers that we enforce. I can already hear the naysayers.... don't kid yourselves. We aren't any better (on average) than many companies out there. We're not. Fact.

    So, why don't we start focusing this strong enforcement effort on ourselves? Who's with me...????

  4. Dream on.

    As long as OASAM has jurisdiction over OSHA, forget any real enforcement. They won't do squat. Further DOL is a certified Federal agency with a Safety and Health Committee, meaning that OSHA has no jurisdiction over the agency unless the S&H committee requests an OSHA inspection. Even then, OASAM has no real power and the RA's that won't rat on each other.

    Thanks to the NCFLL, they bargained away the regional S&H committees in the last contract negotiations, so in effect, there is only one group running all of the S&H for the entire DOL(the S&H national committee). They are so in the pocket of anything OSHA needs to do that they are useless.

    NCFLL you blew it! You gave away safety. You made OSHA and the rest of DOL weak safety organizations. This is to include MSHA.

    OSHA will talk about what a great job they are doing in several of the regions, but what real oversite do they have? Anything comperable to what private sector has? The answer is no, and when they claim to be VPP don't believe them. Who is really evaluating their VPP status?

    Answer======Other OSHA folks.

    Hmmm. Duh they make STAR status VPP.

  5. Re: our TCIR/MSD
    My memory escapes me but back in the early or mid 90's as part of the regional s/h committee, OSHA mgmt. placed a transparency up on the screen that showed back injuries off the page!!!

    My question to mgmt. was typical - do we have a plan to abate? Now I was just a GS12, so the audacity of me asking! They had no plan. The union designees inquired about 2 wheel luggage carts. Though impartical in areas but it helped.

    CSHOs back then carried those giant blue puffy OSHA bags with a shoulder strap and the old not so compact video recorders. I want to transfer to the office where the CSHO only carries a ruler, pencil, pad, and camera. It took another year to get those carts, cheesy at best, for the CSHOs. A bit off the subject - it took over a year of negotiating to get the Hep B vaccinations! The resolve, one of the union designees happened to be conducting a machine guarding fatality. Knowing that the meeting ends towards lunch, he threw the photos out on the table and ask, how far into the blood and body pieces can I get so I can take my measurements. Non-OSHA people don't like those photos. It was a good day for us. We got the CSHOs Hep B vacs.

    Things haven't changed much. Safety is not a priority but it gets talked about a lot. Our region doesn't deserve VPP.

    An the last administration could have, they probably would have contracted our jobs out to the SGEs if they could.