Safety and OSHA News

New acting OSHA head: His ideas on direction for agency

The new interim head of OSHA has said the federal government needs to take a leadership role in workplace safety and health, and in the last eight years the agency has been a failure when it comes to creating new standards.

Jordan Barab made those comments last fall at the National Safety Council (NSC) annual conference in a session on the future of OSHA.

Barab leaves his post as Senior Labor Policy Advisor to the House Committee on Education and Labor. He worked with the committee’s chairman, Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

Barab will eventually become the No. 2 person at OSHA, but for the time being will be acting administrator which doesn’t require Congressional approval.

Among Barab’s other comments at the NSC session last fall, he:

  • gave OSHA good marks on compliance assistance to companies, but questioned whether that should be the agency’s main focus
  • questioned whether the federal government has a good handle on counting workplace injuries and fatalities
  • called for OSHA to be “well staffed” and for those staffers to be better trained, saying one of its most important resources is people
  • said there needs to be more focus on chemical standards, noting that some of the science for current permissible exposure limits (PELs) dates back to the 1960s, and
  • supported OSHA penalties that “need to be a real disincentive” to businesses that ignore employee safety and health.

Before Barab took his job with the U.S. House, he wrote a blog, Confined Space. Although there have been no new entries since 2007, you can read his previous posts, which include many of his thoughts on workplace safety and health, here.

Print Friendly

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest safety news and insights delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. “gave OSHA good marks on compliance assistance to companies, but questioned whether that should be the agency’s main focus”

    We as a company are quite serious about being safe and compliant. How can they think they should not do MORE to assist us in being compliant. I spend WAY too much time trying to figure out exactly what we need to do to remain compliant. Rules are great but when you also have to read all the interpretations and rulings and other stuff to “interpret” the rules how can a small business do it. This is ridiculous!!!
    Even though I subscribe to a compliance guide service I still find I need more help. I should not have to do that. I should be able to read the rules and follow them.

  2. Tim Ashman says:

    I too feel that this branch of the government has been understaffed. This is a branch thats main focus is to watch employee safety, thats us, its me, my wife and my kids. I know that through my career that OSHA was always proclaimed as a watch dog and it would bad. Since my time in safety I have seen that they want to help employees and find the owners that don’t care about the employees. I wish they would hire an OSHA inspector for every company to watch the management and its safety practices. Sometimes in thsi job I think that safety coordinators are by themselves with knowone to lean on for help or to back them up. We as safety professionals have the hardest job, we are the cheerleaders and the policemen. We have to patrol and keep people excited about being at work so they can go home safely to their families.

  3. Well, as outreach trainer always working for a company emphasis in safety, I do not have any problem learning all the CFR codes and Understand the points issues and more from OSHA. Intelectually is only coming sense in everything to maintain free workplace and help all workers to go home in good conditions same as they came to work every day. I agreed with Tim, we are patroling the sites and learning as well from employees to keeping going “safely” during the day.
    Also is like doctor’s reading all accordingly to medicine as they reading about the new drugs in the market, same as I do about safety. As professional I did not complaint, only do the best for all. Training employees is a fact, to maintain companies and employees compliance with regulations, I know all. What else?

  4. RICHARD S. says:

    SAFETY IS SO IMPORTANT TO ALL US..EMPLOYERS CAN-NOT ALWAYS BE RESPONSIBLE, EMPLOYEES NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, NO EMPLOYER WANTS A ACCIDENT THAT WILL HARM SOME-ONE.. OSHA =IS NOT ONLY SELF SUPPORTING= BUT REVENUE RAISING, THE BIGGEST FEAR MANY OF US HAVE IS THAT OSHA CAN PUT US OUT OF BUSINESS… ONE CAN KICK A DOG UNTIL IT WILL RUN AWAY ,, OUR REGULATIONS HAVE MADE MANY COMPANY ‘S DO JUST THAT.. [[[ WAKE=UP=AMERICA ]]]

Speak Your Mind

*