Monday, December 14, 2009

Dr. Michaels

As anyone who follows OSHA knows by now, Dr. David Michaels was nominated and confirmed as the new Assistant Secretary for OSHA. Someone recently posted a comment asking me what I thought of Dr. Michaels, and in one of the strangest moments in my life, I realized I have no real opinion!

I had never heard of Dr. Michaels before his nomination, but I guess my sense is that he is a good selection. The Pump Handle certainly sings his praises, but then again he worked with Celeste and the others who maintain that blog, so that's expected. ASSE and AIHA support him, and that's a positive. The US Chamber of Commerce didn't oppose him, although they begged for hearings, so I don't know what to make of that. He was approved unanimously by the Senate, which suggests that both sides are comfortable enough with him.

The only opposition I've seen is from the anti-gun control extremists who seem to think he, like everyone else, is going to take their guns away. I have no idea how they could rationally reach this conclusion, which suggests that there was no rationale, just extremism. Now don't jump up and down and leave nasty comments about gun control, I'm not expressing my opinion one way or another, I'm just saying that rational anti-gun control people recognize that Dr. Michaels can't take us in that direction. If you think an ergonomic standard is controversial, just imagine if we even hinted at gun control.

I like the fact that Dr. Michaels is a S&H professional. I like that he understands the science behind S&H. I really like that he has previously run a government program. I like that he probably won't fall asleep during meetings.

I have been around long enough to see Assistant Secretaries who exceeded expectations and those who failed to meet expectations, and I have learned from those experiences. I have put Dr. Michaels book "Doubt is Their Product," on my Christmas list to Santa, so I can get a better sense of who he is, but right now I have no expectations of Dr. Michaels, only hopes.