Safety and OSHA News

Senator: OSHA has failed, make big changes

The U.S. debt agreement will force lawmakers to make tough decisions on where to cut government spending. OSHA is one senator’s target. 

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) wants to slash at least $72.6 million from OSHA’s budget and refocus the agency’s priorities from enforcement to employer assistance programs.

Coburn has issued a deficit reduction report that includes five pages on OSHA. The report states:

  • OSHA’s budget has gone up $72.6 million from 2008 to 2011
  • Additional resources have been directed toward enforcement
  • The number of OSHA inspections done each year dropped from 2008 to 2011
  • OSHA eventually reduces 98% of the penalties it issues
  • Statistics show voluntary compliance programs, such as the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), have a proven track record of success, are cost efficient and cover more places of employment than inspections
  • Since enforcement doesn’t seem to be working, and VPP does, OSHA should emphasize voluntary compliance programs while ensuring its limited enforcement tools are effectively targeted and carried out, and
  • OSHA’s Susan Harwood Grants that fund training and education programs duplicate other OSHA efforts and should be eliminated at a cost saving of $11 million a year.

Despite footnotes throughout Coburn’s report stating where certain statistics came from, the report doesn’t list the source for its figures on OSHA inspections. OSHA’s own annual reports show the total number of inspections rose from 38,667 in 2008 to 40,993 in 2010, a 6% increase.

The effectiveness of VPP has been questioned by a report from the Government Accountability Office.

And it’s interesting to hear a Republican critical of OSHA reducing fines for companies.

What do you think of Coburn’s report and its conclusions? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. While working as an EHS manager with a previous employer, I had the bounty of being part of a team working on expanding our European operations. Our European plant was too small, sales were rising, and we needed more space, and it would create more jobs. But a bigger plant also potentially would have a negative environmental impact. Our corporate team sat down around a table with plant union representatives, local government officials, and the country’s version of our own EPA. The meeting took two days, but the goal of everyone in the room was “We understand your concerns – how do we make this work so everyone wins? The company COLLABORATED with the impacted parties to create more jobs, boost the local economy, and with minimal to no impact to the environment. A win-win for everyone.

    Coming back to the United States I realized that our own legal system doesn’t allow for this type of collaboration. The company didn’t spend thousands of dollars on attorney and consultant fees just to make a proposal for plant expansion that would be rejected over and over, to the benefit of the legal system at the expense of the real economy. But our lawyers and politicians (who are lawyers by training) are trained to be adversarial and win at all costs – I win, you lose!

    If we are to solve the economic issues associated with small business regulatory overload, we need to change this adversarial mindset that is imbedded in OSHA, the EPA, and other regulatory agencies. I agree with Sen. Mitch McConnell that we have too many regulators on steroids – I win, you lose. In the end, the country loses because small business, the linchpin of the American economy, is stifled from being able to grow. OSHA needs to be more collaborative and less combative.

  2. The big picture is that OSHA’s requirements place a very small burden on employers when you consider the need and purpose. OSHA has fewer standards than what is needed and many of the current standards need to be updated. Complying with safety and health regulations is the least an employer can do to ensure that at the end of the day their workers go home to their families safe and sound. There are still many employers who let safety take a sideline to production and profits. Enforcement and the fear of a compliance officer showing up at their place of business motivates many to at least try to comply. Too many hard working Americans don’t make it home each day, often because of the negligence of an employer. OSHA has made a significant impact with very few resources. If anything the agency needs better standards, a more focused enforcement plan, and an increased budget to ensure that their front line enforcement personnel receive adequate training and are well equipped to make a greater impact in the workplace.

  3. This Senator is just swinging a club at an agency to make himself look like he’s doing something. He seems to think that employers are just going to regulate themselves without being prompted by regulatory penalties. Then again he’s probably just speaking as a mouthpiece for his special interest groups of corporate employers who are sick of paying fines for killing teenagers in grain elevators… but I’m only speculating.
    Maybe its because he’s so far inland that he forgot all about the 11 people that died working for BP on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Perhaps he hasn’t familiarized himself with Tyler Pipe/McWane Industries. Maybe he simply didn’t know about the dozen or so construction workers who died making improvements to the Las Vegas strip between 2006 and 2008. Or the guy that fell into an industrial meat grinder last month… or the people that die at work every day accross America. Not to mention all the people that have been seriously injured on the job because employers were too cheap or lazy to protect them.
    While it may not get a lot of press, all over the country people have had their lives marginalized by a “bottom line”. At my old place of business, which I thankfully left 8 months ago, our director (a CPA and lawyer) said outright that he thought safety training, programs, PPE, etc. were a waste of money and completely unnecessary. He ended up firing 30% of our Risk Management staff, and the rest of us quit and found new jobs.
    Apparently Sen. Tom Coburn is blissfully unaware that sometimes corporate big-shots are narcissistic, greedy jerks that have no problem compromising humanity for the sake of the almighty dollar. In his utopian American fantasyland, employers can be trusted to conduct themselves respectfully, even though history tells a different story.

    I’m sure that the thousands (literally) of Americans who died at work last year would urge Senator Coburn to look carefully at the working…

  4. Steve St.Martin says:

    Sen Coburn needs to have his head examined like most if not all the Republicans in Washington. As a OSHA Compliance Officer and the AFGE Steward for my office, I can say that his information is either flawed or just incorrect. As a Compliance Officer (CSHO) we are visiting more and more employers each year. Unfortunately, since the Agency cant afford to buy listings of employers, we usually inspect the same ones about every 3-4 years. Fines are reduced on employers for many reasons. Some are reduced at informal conferences in the various offices due to OSHA getting concessions from the employers for the reduction, or when a case is contested in court, the judges reduce the penalties, or the agency’s solicitors (DOL not OSHA) settle out of court, because of their back log of cases or lack of knowledge about OSHA law or understanding the highly technical files that OSHA generates. Sen Coburn also needs to be aware of the fact that as per the number of inspections, our managers at the local level continually push for numbers of inspections, which does mean we only cite certain hazards not all that we see. Its not because of CSHO’s its the mentality of upper management and the requirements set on the agency by CONGRESS. We have to work with antiquated equipment, some of our equipment dates back to the 1960’s or earlier, but the Agency does not have the funds to buy new or updated equipment. Sen Coburn states that VPP has a proven track record. It does for the employers that are in the program which may be 1-2% of all the employers in the country. Most employers wouldnt or couldnt meet the requirements of VPP Status. CSHO’s are very conscientious federal employees. We do our jobs every day and we actually do take the mission of the agency to heart, but we also have our hands tied, by local, regional and national management, the Departments’ Solicitors office (usually wont take a case to trial unless they are guaranteed a win), the court system (that sides with the…

  5. I do not think I can add anything to what Russ W, RC, and Steve St Martin have said. OSHA managers can not say these things because it would be politically incorrect. They would not last long in this agency. Few are willing to speak up to upper management. Dan C, in a more perfect world what you have experienced outside the U.S. would work here. I think it would only work in a more broad sense. When it comes to protecting the employees you still need the nuts and bolts, the standards, to better ensure employees are protected. Most employers make very little effort to comply with the safety requirements that would protect their employees. Liberty Mutual runs the numbers annually. The last time I reviewed their stats, we lose 52 billion dollars each year in direct cost because of accidents. Without enforcement you will never get the level of protection available today. What employers do is a business. If they can make more money rocking and rolling, they are going to rock and roll. If they can not, they will make the changes needed or go out of business. If you get away from the warm and fuzzy feelings, safety is only important to employers when it benefits their bottom line.

  6. LittleRedHen says:

    If OSHA had more better-trained solicitors who were willing and able to prosecute, more money might be in the federal coffers RIGHT NOW — and less humans would be in coffins. Think about it Senator, people can”t vote for you if they’re dead.

  7. In my Whistleblower case that has been going on since 4/20/09 i have met with my second OSHA 11C investigator on 12/7/10.This investigator turned out to know my brother where they hung out on a corner in philadelphia in the 70s.This investigator went on to tell me how bad OSHA is at protecting whistleblowers and boy he talked(too much to put in this post).This was something we already knew.This investigator could not even believe how much we provided OSHA Timelines/emails/pictures/documentation.When i mean we 15 months after i contacted OSHA a second technicion came forward then 5 months later a third came forward.This investigator stated to me no less than three time your a whistleblower.he said (gregg you dont know how many call after they been fired then they have no timelines no documentation then you dig deeper where you find out there always late, dont call when they dont show up , dont do anything when they do show up WOW you really got it covered) And so much more,He even stated (gregg with the extra 11c investigators there hireing were still ovewhelmed when i turn in your case there going to hand me four more thats why i cant spend much time on your case) He even stated he wanted to sit down with me more due to how much evidence i have!
    I have turned to YOUTUBE to warn other possible whistleblowers that OSHA does not have your back!
    TRUST ME KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT DO NOT DESTROY YOUR CAREER AND FAMILY!
    Gregg S
    PROUD NAVY DAD

  8. Good – OSHA needs stop being the “new sheriff in town” trying to beat every employer up and starting working with them instead!

    OSHA typically uses it’s enforecement activities as a tool to show that they’re doing their job and justify bigger budgets, and of course in the current adminsitration to send a political message that they’re out there “representing” the workers (i.e., the voting base for the Democratic party) against the “greedy” employers (not the Democrat voting base). But there is no demonsrated positive correlation enforcement activity and incident rates. Quite simply, fear of OSHA is not a primary motivator for most employers to “do the right thing”. Insurance costs, lawsuits, adverse publicity, and sometime even lost business opportunties are all much bigger financial motivators for having a safe working environment than the threat citations and a few thousand dollars in fines (esp. since those fines can usually ne negotiated way down).

    The way many emplyers go about dealing with safety may be wrong-headed a times, but truly there aren’t a lot of employers who truly don’t care about worker safety – they just need the guidance and motivation to find a better way. And that, folks, is our job as safety professionals. I can spend my time building a safer work culture, empowering workers, and enlightening management, or I can spend my time making sure all my I’s are dotted and T’s crossed so I can “pass” an ever increasing flurry of OSHA inspections. Which do you think makes the workplace safer?

  9. LittleRedHen says:

    Compliance runs the inspections, writes the citations. Upper management, and politicians, drop the fines and citations, and the part of OSHA who protects whistle blowers are lousy at it. Sounds like OSHA compliance could use MORE HELP, not less, to do their jobs correctly. So why not help them help you? Wear your harnasses, hats, and other protective gear. Push your politicians to get lawyers who will prosecute. And find out why the whistleblower program sucks and fix it. Or would getting involved somehow remove your right to whine and bitch that nothings being done?

  10. So, OSHA Compliance Officers “beat up on employers”? Showing up at a work site where someones husband or son is working in an unprotected trench or 35 feet up on a steep roof with no fall protection may inspire a safety professional to want to “smack someone on the back of the head”. If the work is stopped, even briefly, and the workers removed from the hazard during the inspection, at least the chance that they will die on the job that day may be reduced. Chances are the employer will simply put those individuals back into the same dangerous working conditions once the compliance officer leaves because they know that the way to make up the lost profits from the small fine they will get is to get the job done even faster. Instead of expecting OSHA to come in and run their safety program for them employers need to take the initiative and do what is right. PS Never saw a construction worker run and grab his hard hat when the insurance guy shows up at his work site.

  11. The rate of decline in Occupational Fatality rates has remained constant since before OSHA was formed. They are simply riding the coat tails on the way down the hill.

  12. I read the OSHA press releases on an almost daily basis as a part of my job, and I know that OSHA issues citations and fines to careless companies who have endangered their employees. What Guest says above is bull–When the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the National Safety Council estimated that 14,000 workers died each year on the job. Now, with twice the number of workers onboard, this year there were only 4550 fatalities. These are far too many, but it at least shows that OSHA has an impact, which blustery loudmouth Coburn wants to destroy on behalf of his corporate pals. The same pals have friends in other states like Missouri, where they’d like to revoke child labor laws. Is this the kind of USA you want to live in? If there are OSHA fines issued against companies now, how much more abuse will take place if those companies know that no one is watching? In countries like Hungary, CEOs go to jail for killing workers! Why do our executives get away with minor fines?

  13. What was stated is not bull. You claiming that OSHA is responsible for 100% of the drop in fatalities is bull.

    In 1933 for every 100,000 workers there were 37 annual workplace fatalities. In 1969 there were 18 fatalities per 100,000 workers. In 1993 the rate of fatalities was 8 per 100,000 workers.

    1933-1969 (Pre-OSHA). 36 years. 51% decline in fatality rates without OSHA.
    1969-1993 (Post-OSHA). 34 years. 56% decline in fatality rates with OSHA.

    Then include the increase in automation and the shift of jobs from manufacturing to the service sector and I would say there is not much difference at all between these two periods. *Shock* companies were already making workplaces safer!

    Explain to me again why we are spending nearly $500,000,000 to fund an agency that is charged with reducing fatalities that would have continued at their current rate without the agency?

    The argument that no one is watching is false. Looking at it from a pure cost perspective, worker’s compensation laws are more impactful than the fear of OSHA fines.

  14. As a former compliance officer(CSHO) for 35 years which I tolerated just for a paycheck knowing that what I did was mostly useless, I can tell you that Guest above is 100% correct. Worker safety is important but if you want to screw something up royally, give the job to the government. They are idiots in charge of idiots. It is the nature of all government and it can never be changed. Virtually all government programs are colossal failures. Government is needed but it needs to be very very small. Today in the news at DOJ, the government paid $16 for muffins and $8.25 for coffee at conferences. If you place your faith in government doing a good job, you live in La La Land.

  15. Guest, your stats are hog wash. The gov’t did not just bullishly charge into workplaces spouting safety rules and fining employers on December 30, 1971. Ever hear of the Safety Appliance Act? That was signed into law in 1893. How about the Bureau of Mines? That was established in 1910. Ever hear of the Walsh Healy Act of 1936? These are only a few of the government’s efforts to improve worker safety. There are actually a few of us here who genuinely care about our country and the safety of our fellow Americans. The job may be challenging and filled with many road blocks but it is purposeful. I haven’t quite been at this for 35 years but I know my efforts are paying off. BTW…the $16 muffin media rubbish. Reception attendees got muffins, fruit, pastries, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. With tax and tip it was a under $15 a head. Oh…and I hear the catering company they use has an excellent employee injury and illness record. God Bless America!

  16. My stats were not hog wash. The point was that OSHA, the ENFORCEMENT agency is not responsible for the improvements in safety. Why is someone who is Anti-OSHA labeled as Anti-Safety? It’s because OSHA supporters do not have a valid argument. Companies want to be safe, workers want to be safe. I didn’t say that the government has no role in occupational safety, I just said that perpetually funding OSHA because injury rates have declined is bull. The country and industry were getting safer before OSHA, and they would continue to do so without them.

  17. I still can not figure out how i provided OSHA complete indisputible company documentation that my employer knowingly sent out on rent (4/20/09 ) a five ton JLG scissor lift that i had just locked out unsafe with a major mechanical steering problem and OSHA did nothing.This JLG scissor lift was one of four identical lifts i locked out unsafe that all had the identical problem and the manufacturer even has a service bullitin and upgrade kit to solve this safety problem where you lose control of the steering when operating it.JLG even stated that the truck driver loading it was in danger.These lifts do not have a break pedal they are desined to stop at a pre determined distance by the computer depending on the speed your traveling.All this was given to OSHA and the time line of 13 diffrent dates /names/times/ of calls i made to JLG tech support where they all stated that lift should never left the yard.Six times JLG even faxed me the same service bullitin with there names on the cover sheets again all given to OSHA.
    OSHA did nothing and in a meeting with the area director OSHA philadelphia he informed me that the company sent a second one from the four i locked out unsafe and it was sent into a Sunoco refinery!
    I even offered to drive him down to the refinery right now but they stonewalled and tried to state that i was not cleared to go in Sunoc but i stated i was and even had my ID clearence cert with me.They came up with another excuse.What a joke. That lift in a refinery was a disaster waiting to happen.
    Just six months later a JLG lift flipped over in philadelphia killing the operator and injuring two.The operator steered just a few inches on to a grate it the side walk witch gave way causing it to flip over. So this shows you inches count with these lifts.
    This is just part of what “WE” provided OSHA.

  18. So, if companies are so interested in being safe then why did I have to write so many letters to wives and mothers this past year, sending my condolences and promising to diligently investigate the events that led to their loved ones death? Why do I see, almost daily, employers exposing their workers to hazards that could leave them with permanent injury or even worse? Why do employers fail to follow even the most basic of safety regulations? Workers fall to their death, are buried alive, are electrocuted, and are run over by equipment and machines. Plants explode and workers are burned alive, all because companies fail to provide the safe work environment that American worker’s deserve. As long as I have breathe in my lungs and two feet to stand on I am going to be a voice for those who set out each day to make an honest living and are made to suffer through with dangerous working conditions and an uncaring, profit minded employer.

  19. “So, if companies are so interested in being safe then why did I have to write so many letters to wives and mothers this past year, sending my condolences and promising to diligently investigate the events that led to their loved ones death?”

    You chose your profession. The CEO or President of those companies probably wrote the same letters. They care too.

    “Why do I see, almost daily, employers exposing their workers to hazards that could leave them with permanent injury or even worse? Why do employers fail to follow even the most basic of safety regulations? Workers fall to their death, are buried alive, are electrocuted, and are run over by equipment and machines.”

    Even more proof that OSHA is ineffective.

    “Plants explode and workers are burned alive, all because companies fail to provide the safe work environment that American worker’s deserve. ”

    Keep tugging at the heart strings. Accidental Death numbers tell us that less than 10% of fatalities happen at work, and the number that point to employee responsibility far outweighs negligent employers. Let work comp, courts, families go after the bad employers, keep OSHA from attacking the good ones. Cars crash, homes catch fire, all because people fail to follow regulations on the road and at home.

    “As long as I have breathe in my lungs and two feet to stand on I am going to be a voice for those who set out each day to make an honest living and are made to suffer through with dangerous working conditions and an uncaring, profit minded employer.”

    I admire your conviction to workplace safety and I believe your heart is truly in it for the right reasons. Why paint employers with the broad brush of being uncaring? A majority of employers care more about their own people than any stranger with a government badge. I will give you the point that employers are profit minded, if an employer isn’t profit minded they won’t exist. Profit minded employers see the financial benefits of…

  20. James Turner says:

    Perfect system to never have an employee injured or killed on a job, FIRE ALL EMPLOYEES NOW! Of course you have 100% unemployment, but nobody gets hurt on the job again! That is your goal! No, too radical, so the government will just do that in slow motion by adding more and more regulations each day resulting in companies closing or moving out of the country.(unemployment will keep rising of course just slower than firing everybody all at once). The reality is you can’t do anything without risking injury such as getting in a car or bending over to pick up a pencil. It is all an illusion that a perfectly safe workplace can exist (well, maybe in LaLa Land). So, we have these people with great powers of rationalization telling you how great a job government is doing (i.e. see how great europe doing now). Otherwise, keep whistling past LaLa Land and indulge in your private fantasy of how great government will make our lives on the job safer by having a single copy of a book of regulations that is as large as the Library of Congress and growing larger each day. It is a socialist’s heaven.

  21. Try being a whistleblower through OSHA. It does not work just read my postings above. Deepwater horizion survivor Danieil Baron on CNN with four other survivors stated “You could call time out for safety they wouldnt fire you for it but they would find another way to fire you for it” and all four agreed. Due to this disaster OSHA now has the seaman protection act. My second OSHA 11(c) Investigator stated he has got the first case under this seaman protection act that involves a tug boat operator. I replied to him “OSHA cant protect whistleblowers here on land how are they going to protect those guys” He chuckled and said “your right”.
    Last week the former recepionist at my former employer stated to the government on my behalf in my whistleblower case that they knew i contacted OSHA.She was the only receptionist at this satelite branch.
    The employer stated to OSHA they did not know i contacted OSHA and OSHA accepted that.The entire company knew i contacted OSHA for i was the one who was complaining about the unsafe condition of the forklift fleet they had at the pennsylvania conventition center with documentation for years before i contacted OSHA.This is the second time she has stated this to the government.

    So would it make sense that OSHA would have real whistleblower protection to keep employers in check. Believe me i did everything not to go this route.I thought that OSHA would protect my job.

  22. To say that all or most CEOs and Company Presidents are “safety focused” or even remotely interested in compliance for the benefit of the worker would be a huge fallacy. I have personally watched as a VP ignored hazards and the workers who were exposed to them, simply because he wanted the work to get done. Yes, I am sure that he would have written a letter to the family of a worker who suffered a serious injury or died on the job. It’s the fact that people like that are taking chances with other peoples lives simply to make a profit that justifies the existence of a government agency whose responsibility is to hold those employers accountable.

    However, for every employer that turns a blind eye to safety there is one that pursues it with at least an earnest and mindful intent. For a precious few it’s even a mission statement. When inspected those employers do not “get attacked”. Most often they end up with “incompliance” stamped on the front of their file and likely a “keep up the good work” from the compliance officer.

    ANY argument that OSHA is ineffective can very easily and quickly be settled. More often than not during the vast majority of inspections, significant hazards are discovered and corrected before someone suffers an injury. I say more often than not because the focus is on dangerous workplaces, not hitting up every employer or workplace just to pad the government’s pocket book. Those stats are black and white. OSHA does not go around citing employers because they didn’t have an MSDS for water. They cite real hazard, they cite real standards, most of which are written in the blood of injured or dead American workers. (con’t)

  23. (con’t)
    There is no other agency out there that can punish an employer for failing to keep their workers safe while on the job. Workers comp only assures money for medical expenses and some reimbursement for lost wages. It is almost impossible to sue your employer, and some states even have laws against it. The burden would be on the injured employee to prove gross negligence on the part of his employer. Talk about adding insult to injury.

    Fact is there will always be employers who will try to take the easy and most profitable way out, sacrificing the safety of their employees along the way. Just as well, there will always be folks who think that the government is run by a bunch of robots collecting a paycheck and butting in on others business. But, ain’t freedom great!

    BTW…Mr. Turner…interesting analogy. So if we apply that to airline safety then it must be by divine intervention that commercial aviation has had a nearly perfect safety record for decades. It was no accident and it took many dedicated professionals as well as a government agency to get to that point.

    Also, apparently you have never seen a copy of the OSHA standards. It’s a pretty small book. Only 19 subparts (or chapters) in the general industry standards. Even less in the construction standards. Takes years to make changes or add anything to them.

  24. James Turner says:

    No one can prove that OSHA makes a whit of a difference. They can claim it but not prove it. (See Guest comments above) Everybody wants to believe they do important work so if you are in the safety field you must convince yourself first and others second that you have value and do meaningful work. Otherwise you are nothing and a big fat ZERO. It is a self esteem thing. Oh, and by the way I know for sure that compliance officers that write the most violations with the biggest penalties get the best annual performance ratings. If they have too many in-compliance inspections, they get in trouble with their supervision. They don’t have quotas but violations real or imagined must be found. Does that sound right? The violations are often totally unrelated to a company’s actual injury risks. And, therefore the OSHA budget is mostly a waste. Call it “workfare” for government people. So time to hear more “I do a great job and perform a real job saving people lives because…(rationalization starts at this point)

  25. Mr. Turner, are you serious? OSHA can’t be everywhere all at once, but if they could I’d bet that accidents and fatalities would drop to something close to zero.
    On my way to and from work almost every day I see someone doing something stupid that I know they shouldn’t be doing, and they probably know it too. Standing on the rails of a man-basket, or the top rung of a ladder… working on leaking water lines in an unprotected trench…

    Come on, man. You know these are the types of things that kill people. If OSHA was right there, all the time, you know they wouldn’t be doing stuff like that… but they want to get the job done and they’re willing to take the risk because they’ll probably be ok. The only problem is, sometimes they won’t be ok. Sometimes they will be injured or they will die because of stuff like this. Because they’re in a rush. Because PPE is uncomfortable.

    When you look at first hand accounts of things like arc-flash videos, what is the first thing the guy who got 70% of burns all over his body says? “I knew I should’ve… blah blah blah… but I didn’t because I just wanted to get it done. I didn’t think anything would happen. I wish I had… blah blah blah…”
    You need proof that OSHA works? There it is. You’d better hope to God that OSHA finds you and scolds you before you kill yourself at work.

    Mr. Turner, you know that OSHA works. Stop trying to make employees martyrs for the almighty dollar. Have a little compassion for people. Yes, its unpleasant to get cited. Maybe it takes time to follow safety protocols. Maybe PPE is uncomfortable or uncool. You know what’s worse? Getting seriously injured or killed at work.

  26. James Turner says:

    Yeah, that is what we all need. A government person like a shadow following each one of us around 24/7 to make sure we don’t do something stupid! What a laugh! Re-enter the real world. I think a government shadow person is what they try to do in communist countries. We all know what the end story is to that (see former Soviet Union). We need the government to protect us from ourselves! Socialism all the way. And the OSHA budget would not be 1/2 a billion but hundreds of billions of dollars. (not to mention millions of compliance officers) And we all know the Federal Government has endless money because they can print more as they wish. Dream on, Dream on! Accept responsibility for your own safety in life. Employees volunteer for dangerous jobs. Nobody puts a gun to their head. I choose to be unemployed, homeless and eat burgers in the dumpster behind McDonald’s than take a job that I will die on. If everybody did that employers with dangerous jobs go out of business or change things to provide a safe workplace. No union is needed to do that and no government shadow person is needed. (i.e. OSHA budget =(0) zero dollars). If an employee takes a dangerous job then stupid is as stupid does. No government shadow person is needed or realistically possible. What a head game you play.

  27. As the safety coordinator for a small hvac company (one of many hats I wear) I have been through 2 OSHA inspections. The company I work for is very concerned about safety but we didn’t have an OSHA approved system in place. The first inspector came through and was very helpful. He taught me about committees and written hazard communication etc. He issued a few minor fines, but was more concerned with us getting into compliance. He said he could tell we were serious about safety, but not knowledgeable of the bureaucracy.

    The second inspector came through and from the moment he set foot on site it was clear he was only interested in finding citations ( a few questionable ones at that). Fortunately the program the first inspector set up helped us through the second inspection. If this inspector had done our first one he would have easily put us out of business and 25 people would have been unemployed.

    I understand the need for OSHA, but to be honest, it is an ‘Us v.s. Them’ mentality is most cases, not a amicable partnership.

  28. James Turner says:

    Regarding Roy’s previous comment: Guess which OSHA inspector gets an excellent annual performance evaluation and which inspector gets an average evaluation? You got it! The 2nd “mean” inspector gets an “excellent” with a cash bonus and the 1st “nice” inspector gets an “average” with no extra money and usually pressure from his supervisor to be mean like the 2nd inspector. Therein lies the problem and the current OSHA should abolished or very severely changed to work as an actual partner with employers. 98% of employers try to do the right thing with about 2% bad actor employers that can be rightfully shut down. But the good 98% of employers should not be punished for the bad 2% of employers. Therefore, the current OSHA budget as it currently operates should $0 (zero) zip notta dollars. I know from where I speak.

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