Will someone just go and put up a sign “Proudly Screwing Workers: 2,827 Straight Days” onÂ the Labor Department building?Â
Late yesterday I learned that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Asst. Secretary Leon SequeiraÂ and her otherÂ political minions sent aÂ proposed rule to the Federal Register which willÂ change the process by whichÂ OSHA and MSHA assess workers’ risk to health-harming contaminants.Â
The proposed rule confirms Chao’s desire to make it more cumbersome and time-consuming for OSHA and MSHA to issue health-protective standards.Â It mandates, for example, that the agencies issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for every health standard—a COMPLETELY unnecesasry step when the hazard is well-known and documented in the scientific literature.Â This proposal has NOTHING to do with “sound science,” “transparency,” “good government,” or any of the other meaningless words that Sequeira wants to throw into this document.Â It has EVERYTHING to do with delaying protections for workers’ health.
Sequeira is generously giving workers and other interested partiesÂ 30 days to submit comments on Chao’s plan.Â Â Grrrr…I hadÂ several activities planned this Labor Day weekend to honor the nation’s working classÂ (includingÂ a blessing of the tools of our trades), but instead, I’ll be spendingÂ my free time preparing written comments on this anti-public health and anti-worker proposed rule.
For more on this plan, formerly called “Chao’s Secret Rule” see the case study on the SKAPP website.
Celeste Monforton, MPH, DrPH is with the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public PolicyÂ (SKAPP) at The George Washington University School of Public Health.Â She worked as a career federal employee at OSHA (1991-1995) and MSHA (1996-2001), and doesn’t see any evidence that employers have been deluged by regulations to protect workers from injuries, illnesses or death.