Attached here is an article I wrote for Law 360 about OSHA’s painfully slow process for issuing standards that protect workers, and how the Trump administration is trying to make it even slower. OSHA’s law, court decisions and OMB Executive Orders have already slowed the process to a crawl, but Trump’s Executive Order requiring one worker protection to be taken away for every one added threatens to grind the process to a complete halt.
And as usual, in cases where corporate American gets what it wants, workers will suffer.
What we call “regulations” are actually protections for workers. Trump’s executive order is basically imposing a regulatory version of Sophie’s Choice: Which workers will OSHA choose to condemn to injury, illness or death in order to protect another group of workers?
Of course, it’s unlikely that even without Trump’s “Sophie’s Choice” Executive Order OSHA would be issuing lots of standards to protect workers. But what we’re seeing here is not a rebalancing, but a dangerous assumption that all worker or environmental protections are bad, that they hurt profits and kill jobs. There is no evidence of any of that, but Federal policy is now driven by that dangerous myth.
But the Occupational Safety and Health Act recognizes an important government role in protecting workers by issuing standards and strongly enforcement those protections in the workplace.
And any further burdening of the process, or rolling back existing regulations is nothing more than a betrayal of Congressional intent and of the workers’ sweat and blood that paid for these legal protections.