August 28, 2008 The Pump Handle 4Comment

Will someone just go and put up a sign “Proudly Screwing Workers: 2,827 Straight Days” on the Labor Department building? 

Late yesterday I learned that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Asst. Secretary Leon Sequeira and her other political minions sent a proposed rule to the Federal Register which will change the process by which OSHA and MSHA assess workers’ risk to health-harming contaminants. 

The proposed rule confirms Chao’s desire to make it more cumbersome and time-consuming for OSHA and MSHA to issue health-protective standards.  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.  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.  It has EVERYTHING to do with delaying protections for workers’ health.

Sequeira is generously giving workers and other interested parties 30 days to submit comments on Chao’s plan.   Grrrr…I had several activities planned this Labor Day weekend to honor the nation’s working class (including a blessing of the tools of our trades), but instead, I’ll be spending 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 Policy  (SKAPP) at The George Washington University School of Public Health.  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.

4 thoughts on “Chao Flips Us the Bird. Happy Labor Day

  1. This is old news. The House and Senate Labor committees have already filed a protest and have drafted bills opposing this rulemaking. Kennedy is on record asking Chao to reverse her actions.

  2. No problem. Just so you know, Cong. George Miller introduced a bill which aims to block this Labor Dept effort, but a companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.


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