OSHA Enforcement vs. Compliance Assistance: Myth vs. Fact

One of the most persistent — and distorted — arguments in the health and safety community is about how best to protect workers:  enforcement or compliance assistance? Republicans constantly accuse Democrats of ignoring the benefits of cooperation with employers and accuse them of focusing exclusively on enforcement and confrontation. That accusation is demonstrably false, but…

Sweatt Starts at OSHA as……..??

According to OSHA’s Organizational Chart, Loren Sweatt has now made the long voyage across the National Mall to become OSHA’s new political Deputy Assistant Secretary — and the agency’s first political appointee of the Trump administration.  I’m assuming she will be — in effect if not in name — OSHA’s Acting Assistant Secretary, although the…

Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Battle for Workplace Safety and Health: Short Stuff

“We need to be protecting our workers as much as protecting our shores.”  So says former OSHA head Dr. David Michaels in response to a report by Reveal and PBS about fatalities and injuries at shipyards that receive billions in contracts from the US government. The reporters point out intentional, knowing violations of the law,…

House Budget Devastates OSHA and MSHA Enforcement

The House of Representatives has released the details on worker safety and health funding in the FY 2018 Labor-HHS appropriations bill and it’s very bad news for American workers whose lives and health depend on the ability of OSHA and MSHA to enforce the laws that protect workers. The House committee bill cuts OSHA’s enforcement…

Harwood’s Last Gasp? OSHA Announces Cruel and Bizarre Grant Round

OSHA released a grant announcement last week for its Susan Harwood Worker Training Grants. But don’t get your hopes up. The Trump administration did not wake up and suddenly realize how important job safety and health training is to high risk and vulnerable workers. These grants are funded by FY 2017 money which has already…

VPP: An Important Tool or a Waste of Scarce OSHA Resources?

OSHA will hold a stakeholder meeting on Monday (and another in the Fall) to discuss how to improve the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs. So, now might be a good time to review what’s good and what’s bad about the program and how it could be improved. History of VPP As part of the Reagan administration’s…

House Releases Labor Budget Bill — And It’s Even Worse than Trump’s

You thought Trump’s budget proposal was bad for OSHA? Well, our Republican friends in the House of Representatives have issued a bill that’s even worse, although we don’t have all of the details yet. The subcommittee’s mark-up session doesn’t start until 4:30 this afternoon, and we still may not know the details until the full…