Friday, November 18, 2005

Stake through the heart of OSHAct

Short of breath? No? You will be in a minute when you hear about these breathtakingly noxious pieces of shit about to be squeezed out of some congressional assholes. We learn from the always on target Jordan Barab at Confined Space about Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi's (guess his party affiliation) twin turdoramas, about to be introduced as bills in the Senate:
Occupational Safety Partnership Act: Enzi will . . . repropose his pet project -- privatizing OSHA enforcement by allowing employers to hire private sector consultants to inspect their workplaces and issue a "certificate of compliance," exempting them from an OSHA citation for two years. The Partnership act will also increase the use of voluntary protection programs and technical assistance programs. These are the same programs that the Government Accountability Office studied in 2004 and found to have no proven value.

Occupational Safety Fairness Act: This bill includes Charlie Norwood's (R-GA) four OSHA-weakening bills that already passed the House of Representatives last July. In addition, there's are some even worse provisions, including one that would allow employers to vacate citations "if an employer can demonstrate that the employees of such employer were protected by alternative methods equivalent or more protective of the workers’ safety and health." In other words, instead of citing according to OSHA standards, the agency would be forced to use its shrinking resources to prove that the employer's "alternative" methods weren't equally as protective as the OSHA standard.
Here's the good part:
But the worst part of this bill is that for the first time in OSHA's history, the agency would be empowered to cite workers if they aren't wearing their personal protective equipment. Yes, this is the same agency that after five years, still refuses to issue a completed regulation requiring employers to pay for personal protective equipment mandated by OSHA standards.
I don't want to leave the impression this bill has everything Enzi wanted. According to Jordan's information the bill originally made it easier for OSHA to seek criminal indictments for willful violations and would have raised maximum prison sentences from -- hold onto your hats --six months to eighteen months. But the Republican's industry patrons apparently struck those onerous provisions.

What can you say?