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Ha ha ha. Remember the joke the Republicans like to tell about how the Obama administration is passing an intolerable number of regulations and the economy just can't take that kind of regulation-passing?

OSHA regs by administration
Granted, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration isn't the only government agency responsible for regulation, but a new report from Public Citizen (PDF) demonstrates the barriers to workplace health and safety regulation that have been increasing for decades, driving OSHA's ability to pass new regulations down into the basement. How bad is the situation? "While OSHA has only regulated two chemicals since 1997, industry develops two new chemicals every day."

The delays, which are created by a combination of legislative, executive, and judicial pressures, have real consequences:

Five pending OSHA standards have been subject to delays ranging from 4 to 31 years. Analyzing OSHA’s risk assessment data, we found that eliminating the delays would have prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries, more than 10,000 cases of occupational illness and hundreds of worker fatalities.

For instance, remember diacetyl? That's the butter flavoring chemical found in microwave popcorn. It was identified by the CDC as a hazard in 2002. It made headlines in 2007, ConAgra stopped using it, and that September, the House even passed a bill calling for OSHA to declare it a hazard. But, the Public Citizen report says, "OSHA took no further action on diacetyl during the remainder of the Bush administration." In early 2009, OSHA started moving forward on a regulation. But between requirements that "small business" (where small = up to 500 employees) be consulted and requirements for intense cost-benefit analysis, they still may be "years away" from regulating diacetyl.

That's how oppressive the burden of safety and health regulation is on business—businesses have to worry that someday, after they've had extensive input, their use of a butter-flavored chemical that kills people may be regulated.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is part of the Republican plan to reduce (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga

    unemployment. Kill enough workers and the unemployment rate will go down! I bet the Koch Bros. thought that up without any help from Grover Norquist.

    GOP 2012 -- Austerity is just around the corner!

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:42:28 PM PDT

  •  These types of regulation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga

    put money in my pocket and helps the company I work for hire more workers. I ♥ Government regulation.

    "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." — Howard Zinn

    by blueyedace2 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:20:46 PM PDT

  •  Ha! (0+ / 0-)
    Remember the joke the Republicans like to tell about how the Obama administration is passing an intolerable number of regulations and the economy just can't take that kind of regulation-passing?

    Take that Republicans. In fact, this admin is doing very little to protect workers through OSHA rules.  

    I'm pretty sure the joke is on us.

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

    by David Kaib on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 03:55:20 PM PDT

  •  We're under tyranny, TYRANNY I tell you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, ontheleftcoast

    Within the last 2 years, the American way of life has taken it on the chin!  Unprecedented loss of freedom!  

    But it wasn't more regulation.  Or more taxes.  Or less state surveillance.  

    What could it have been?!   Hmmmm.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:03:25 AM PDT

  •  and the effect on rising cost of US healthcare? (0+ / 0-)

    oh, of course there's no effect on the system!

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:03:33 AM PDT

  •  Not to be contrary or anything . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RW, Mindful Nature

    but, the need for new occupational safety and health regulations should decline over time as regulations are promulgated to solve existing problems. New technologies or processes requiring a new regulatory response should come along at a fairly low rate. Once you have an effective regulatory regime in place you wouldn't expect the flow of new regulations to continue at the same rate.

  •  The teabaggers who believe that... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swampyankee, Scioto

    the free enterprise system, not 'big government', should deal with this issue of dangerous chemicals in our workplaces and in our consumer products should consider this:

    The one and only objective of private corporations is to make a profit for their shareholders.  If they can make a bigger profit putting poison in our popcorn than by taking it out, they will do so.  There are other types of institutions that can or should have other, more humanitarian objectives.  The U.S. government is elected by We, the People, and should be responsible for assuring that We, the People, do not get poison in our foods.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:13:44 AM PDT

  •  Erin Burnett, TeaNN "financial expert" (0+ / 0-)

    Crooks and Liars has a post up about Erin Burnett.  Quoting her in 2007

    Ya know, if China were to revalue it's currency or China is to start making say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up too

    It boggles the mind.

  •  Been there and done that with my agency (0+ / 0-)

    I've been working for Social Security since 1978. We've had an endless stream of budget cuts that have reduced our workforce and exploded out backlogs. Time and time again we've been told to do more with less.

    We're now at a point where we can no longer do more with less. We do not have the staff we need to adequately administer the program. Ask anyone who has waited and waited and waited for decisions on their disability claims, they will explode with angry tirades about how long they have to wait for their appeals to be heard.

    Make no mistake about it, the Republicans are hell bent on undermining public confidence in our mission. They are deliberately sabotaging us in order to promote their Chilean fantasy that will wind up screwing people out of what they rightfully paid in. And their paid off Pre$$titute$ are stoking the fires for contracting our work out and dismantling Social Security.

  •  OSHA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the early Naughts i worked at a printing company that improperly stored Diazo and Ammonia, chemicals used to make blueprints (and cause spike-to-the-brain headaches in employees).
    OSHA caught wind of it and sent a Strongly Worded Letter which stated that since they had no OSHA inspectors in the area, we would need to move the ammonia to a proper holding place and take a photo. The chemicals were moved, the photo was taken, the chemicals were moved back to their old shelf space.

    We received a letter from OSHA thanking us for compliance and committment to safety. Eventually, the invisible hand of the market made ammonia/diazo printers obsolete in my industry, but the lesson is that even when the regulations are on the books, OSHA doesn't have the people to enforce anything.

    and that was all BEFORE the republican candidates started explicitly running on a program of "jobs that kill people" as a good thing.

    The Texas Miracle is that, after years of Perry, we don't look like a Tent Revival Thunderdome preaching to the uninsured. Oh, wait...

    by papa monzano on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:32:25 AM PDT

    •  Worked for five years... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      papa monzano

      ...sitting in the same room, ten feet away from one of those things.  No vent hood, nothing.  If it got too bad we opened the door.   Very effective...  NOT!  Fortunately, we only had to use it every few days.

      We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

      by dsteffen on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:44:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So how did this happen? (0+ / 0-)
    Remember the joke the Republicans like to tell about how the Obama administration is passing an intolerable number of regulations and the economy just can't take that kind of regulation-passing?

    So if the Republican narrative is completely false, how did it become part of the Republican "truth telling"?  

    Are there no Democrats to say "you do not know what the ** you are talking about and here is the proof"?  

    Do we not have a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate"?  We even used to have a Democratic House.

    Are Democrats waiting for the Republicans to do their job for them?  

    So how did this happen if not for Democratic corporatist complicity, Democrats chasing after big business funds, and plain old fashioned political incompetency?  

    Please do not blame "the media".  That is just Democrats kicking the can down the road hoping somebody in the media will "discover" the truth.  

    I also thank the one who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic so those on board ship could get a better view of the iceberg.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:35:00 AM PDT

  •  Our local daily this morning... (0+ / 0-)

    ...carried a story of a contractor in a nearby town that was fined $39,000 for failing to provide proper cave-in protection in a seven-foot-deep trench during a sewer installation project.  It was their second citation in less than 5 years, so the fine was about 10X normal -- of course, they can get it substantially reduced if they pledge that they'll be good boys from now on.

    Buy what really dropped my jaw on the floor was that no one had to die to get OSHA out to inspect the site.  That seems to be the only time they investigate anymore.  

    The only thing I can figure is an employee must have had enough of his life being put in danger and ratted them out.  I'm sure they'd like to know who so they can properly punish acknowledge him.

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

    by dsteffen on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:35:33 AM PDT

  •  I´m not sure how this is good news (0+ / 0-)

    does that chart not say that there has occurred a break in American governance when GW Bush came in - and that that break is still continuing and has not been rectified through the current administration?

    •  it certainly give fuel to the (0+ / 0-)

      "Obama is Bush lite" meme.  Yikes, look at that chart!

      (althouh maybe there is something to the idea that one runs out of areas to regulate, but with new harzards arising all the time, I don't think so. )

      Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:04:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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