November 10, 2008 The Pump Handle 2Comment

OSHA’s Asst. Secretary Edwin G. Foulke Jr sent a farewell letter to the staff, dated Election Day Nov 7, recounting his goal on taking the job in March 2006:

“I just want OSHA to be the best Agency it can be”

Reading his 4-page farewell letter, he thinks he accomplished it.  He asserts:

“without a doubt, we should all be proud of the fact that American workplaces are safer and more healthful today than ever before.”

Somehow I doubt that workers who developed bronchiolitis obliterans from exposure to the buttery-flavoring agent diacetyl, burned to death in the Imperial Sugar combustible dust explosion, fell to their deaths in crane collapses, or were killed by other workplace hazards would agree that Foulke should be proud.   Many hazards remain inadequately regulated because of Mr. Foulke’s and Labor Secretary Chao’s pro-business-at-any-cost-to-workers  attitude.

Mr. Foulke announced that he will be working at the Atlanta-based law firm Fisher & Phillips which our friends at OSHA Underground note:

“represents employers during safety and health inspections and in enforcement actions brought by OSHA, MSHA and state agencies.  …we also defend employers from whistleblower claims investigated by OSHA, as well as under various state laws.”

“…our attorneys provide advice to our non-union clients on best practices for maintaining positive employee relations without the need for a third party employee representative and the legal guidelines to follow when faced with union organizing drives.”

I read with interest Mr. Foulke’s reference to

“…two years of leadership meetings with OSHA’s executives, the Agency’s directors, regional administrators and deputies focused on our mission and developed our values and vision.”

Do share!  Where can we read these “values and vision”?

“…our leadership meetings at Hunt Valley and Lake Mary with all of OSHA’s management leaders allowed us to discuss and plot OSHA’s path into the future, a productive dialogue that took place for the first time in the Agency’s history.”

Hunt Valley and Lake Mary must mean something to insiders, but as far as I know, OSHA doesn’t have any offices in such places.  I, for one, would be really interested in learning more about ideas for “plotting OSHA’s path into the future.”  I wonder if that plot included OSHA protection for the 8.6 million state and local employees who are not covered by OSHA, or the tens of thousands of migrant workers who have no real safety rights on the job.

If you are a glutton for punishment, or just need a good gag, Foulke’s farewell letter is here.

Effective today, Nov 10, the acting asst. secretary of OSHA is Thomas M. Stohler, who has been a deputy A/S at OSHA since May 2008.

2 thoughts on “Farewell Letter from OSHA’s Foulke

  1. And I hope that OSHA and MSHA both go back to the days when they have their own small press offices and congressional affairs offices.

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