Monday, August 24, 2009


I got this comment last week, and the commenter asks a great question:
"Now we are getting somewhere! OSHA has actually had some great ideas over the last 30 something years, which even othre agencies have adopted and implemented. However, OSHA has often failed to benefit from its own insights. Why?"
Any ideas?


  1. No Incentive to change. You can change the people at the top all you want, but unless you give someone a benefit to the change for themselves, you won't get movement.
    Change management requires
    1) Shared purpose... not a problem
    2) Effective Leadership ... Debatable.
    3) Powerful Engagement .... weak
    4) Committed local sponsors ... none...
    5) Strong Personal connection ... can't obtain without local sponsors
    6) Sustained personal Performance.... complete fail...

  2. Because OSHA sucks.

  3. From the top down, OSHA Management does not have the ability to see the future and act on it. Appointees do not allow free thinking, therefore Senior Management does not think and also has little backbone. They need the ergo program. To understand this more clearly, you should read, "The Craft of Bureaucratic Neutrality" by Gregory Huber. It will give you great insight into the development of OSHA thought and philisophy.

  4. OSHA Management is a bunch of scared little wee-wees that are afraid of their own shadow. OSHA Management would go into cardic arrest if they had an original thought. It is no surprise that virtually ALL OSHA Programs fail. It is the way of all bureaucracies.

  5. osha needs to open the flood gates a bitand make it simpler for workers to submit notices, perhaps even a ranking system. I'm not saying every violation is extreme or particularly deserving of an inspection, however enumerating errors might be helpful over time.... check out my blog on OSHA violations at Faulconer Construction - some of the stuff is pretty severe, some not so much... it's just meant to paint a picture

  6. The problem is often political--either the political leadership is unwilling or unable to implement the innovative ideas, or there is political pressure exerted by Congress to prevent them from pursuing them. There are also legal authority issues in some cases--that is what prevents the PELs from being updated on a generic basis, a safety and health program standard from being promulgated, and other generic approaches such as an exposure monitoring or medical surveillance standard.

  7. Frankly IMIS is a disgrace, and any discussion of what ail OSHA that excludes it is missing the elephant in the room. I agree with some of the posts above that mention leadership. However, there is more to it, in my opinion. So many of the benefits of institutional knowledge are based on training staff and information management. The latter benefit is not well utilized by OSHA because of IMIS. Without quality IT, the ability learn from our mistakes is anti-diluvian relative to the private sector. The website is pretty good, and lots of information is available on the web, but case management, and information gathering is as antiquated as the first space shuttle, and this prevents people from benfitting from the lessons learned before them.

  8. The RA's will screw over us to get their bonus.

  9. There were a couple of thought provoking comments there, so the original commenter can mull those over (there were also a couple of worthless comments thrown in, I'm not even sure why).

    I think it does go to leadership, but not necessarily the career people (although some of them have been obstacles as well), but the appointees.

    Think about our former Assistant Secretaries, since Eula Bingham, how many have had actual S&H experience? Two, and both of those were under anti-regulation administrations. How can we benefit from our own insights under those circumstances? Maybe Dr. Michaels will be another Eula Bingham, we'll have to wait and see.

    As for IMIS, you're right, it is disgraceful, by now we have people working for OSHA who are younger than that system. But I hear that a new system is on the way. Personally, I expect it sometime in the next 10-15 years.