Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Immediately Repeal The "Obama Safe" Act

Dear President-elect Trump.

Congratulations on your tremendous victory. I am sure your campaign will go down in history as the very best, most excellent Presidential campaign ever run. Believe it or not, I announced my belief that you would win the Presidency more than six months ago on my blog (see my proclamation here). So take a few days to celebrate your hard-earned victory, and then get busy making America great again.

Once you are sworn in, I encourage you to move forward on promised actions such as making healthcare affordable again by, ironically, repealing and replacing “The Affordable Healthcare Act” (aka Obama Care).  And if you are looking for some low-hanging fruit to effect additional needed change, I have another suggestion for action; immediately repeal the “The Obama Outlaws Pizza Parties Act” (aka Obama Safe).

Because you have been preoccupied for the past few months, you might not be aware that The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which you will soon oversee, recently implemented a new rule that prohibits employer discrimination against workers who report an injury, which is a worthy thing to do. But in typical fashion, OSHA administrators’ went and stuck their noses where they do not belong . . .  
 
 
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20 comments:

  1. Can we get a similar letter for the silica standard?

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    1. Ha! May not be an issue for long. Odds in Vegas for the repeal and subsequent revision of this standard are 9 to 1. But something does need to be done about Silica over-exposures, and hopefully someday we can get it right.

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    2. Curtis,

      You are right on this one. I agree a silica standard is needed but preferably one that works and actual used some insight from the stakeholders. I'm a CSP (taking the CIH in a week) and my company is the 2nd largest masonry contractor and 7th largest concrete restoration company in the US. We are being saddled with a monstrosity that is absolutely terrible. Hopefully something can be done quickly to repeal this thing. I would gladly offer up my services to help write a common sense standard to protect lives.

      Eric O

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  2. Curtis Chambers, I do not concur with your point of view. As a Corporate Safety Director for 20 years and now a consultant for 10, I can unequivocally state the industry loves incentive programs of all makes shapes and sizes. The distinction between a pizza party and a new BMW is moot when one considers that norming and peer pressure are very REAL pressures in the workplace...and it drives the data underground. The reporting data (as in a JUST culture) is sacrosanct and having a pizza party is frankly demeaning of the effort.
    And it isn't needed. There are plenty of ways to incentivize personnel without resorting to this old condescending approach. I think OSHA is right on this one. Modern performance management theory ought to drive this discussion. Matt Towne RN, CSP Northeast Industrial Safety Systems

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    1. Thank you for your reply. All organizations do not share the same culture. Therefore, I respectfully disagree with your opinion that norming and peer pressure are always an issue when very nominal rewards are at stake in a well thought out safety campaign. And if OSHA does finds evidence that an employer's program did cause someone not to report an injury, then they are certainly entitled to issue that employer a citation.

      Again, my message in this post is that we cannot lump everyone into the same basket. I have seen many well run organizations, large and small, who utilize nominal rewards to celebrate, and find opinions that they are simply looking for a way to suppress injury reporting as laughable.

      It seems to me that many in our profession have bought into the theory that the "uneducated white male" (code for blue collar workers) are a bunch of sheep to be herded and manipulated. THAT is what I find condescending.

      But again, these are just me opinions, as I never profess to speaking for the entire safety profession.

      Thanks again for taking the time to share your opinions too, I think it helps to hear from both points of view.

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  3. Evidently you have never read the research on workers not reporting injuries. I would suggest that you do a little more research before voicing opinions - and yes, your "letter" is only an opinion.
    I would suggest that you read the testimony of Jordan Barab on this issue. Then move on to Andrew McIlvaine for his research. Maybe an article by Bruce Buckley in ENR would shed some light.
    When you first started this blog I honestly thought your goal was to help protect workers. Well, you fooled me and I commend you for this. Now I can see that your focus is not worker protection but assisting employers in how much they can get away with when it comes to intimidating workers by saying that they should be afraid to report an injury.

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    1. George.

      Thank you for taking ther time to comment. It is always good to hear both sides (or sometimes multiple sides) of an argument. Regarding your comments, allow me to counter with the following:

      1) I've done plenty of reading on this particular subject, including the info you have referenced.

      2) Sorry if you feel duped if, after reading the 80+ blogs I have posted, you find one that you disagree with.

      3) You cannot define me - and your attempt to do so in your comment is laughable. I have done plenty to advance safety in the workplace. And I never said that OSHA should not have standards that prevent employee discrimination, merely stating that OSHA's micro-management of pizza parties and the like reeks of snobbery - I guess they (and you?) share a certain party's view that the "uneducated white male" (code for blue collar workers) are not smart enough to make logical decisions when faced with a decision between $3 worth of free pizza or paying for a medical injury out of their own pocket (and that includes accounting for peer pressure).

      Thank you again for sharing your "opinions".

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  4. I agree! Governmental regulations should provide industry with general guidance and leave the details of how to actually run our business (or safety program) to us. Micro-management kills innovation and stymies real progress.

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  5. Well said. The low hanging fruit might also include any number of regulations passed by OSHA during the Obama reign that are 100 percent geared towards revenue generation for OSHA and the government and absolutely nothing to do with real safety or protecting employees.

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  6. I'm not sure how much of your letter to Trump is meant as tongue in cheek humor or not. Given the proven size of his ego, your approach has its merits working to apparently appeal to that aspect of his personality. Whether that was intentional or not the point of your letter is well taken, even though I'd request that you don't speak for me or other Safety professionals or Americans when it comes to the potential repeal of the ACA. It personally helped my family in addressing identifying some serious medical issues in a cost effective way. Complete repeal would be a disaster for those who frankly would be dead or seriously ill without it, but some effective revisions will help it move forward to benefit many fellow Americans.

    My hope is that Trump will either himself or with some reasonable guidance, choose leadership for OSHA and the DOL that will be effective in helping continuing their recent efforts to outreach to small and mid sized business in supporting safe workplaces. However, given this writing on 11/15/16 some of the picks already being made for senior "leadership" roles in a Trump administration are either disturbing or downright terrifying (i.e. Bannon, Bolton and/or Giuliani). So my point is that unless he makes a true moderate pick (at least) for DOL/OSHA, a repeal of a "pizza party" rule is the least of what Safety professionals should be concerned about. We shall see - hoping for the best case, but preparing for the worst case. Thanks.

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    1. Sorry, never stated that I was speaking on behalf of safety professionals (or anyone other than myself). And even though my bog was intended to focus on OSHA, I will say that affordable healthcare is important, with the operative term being affordable. Three years ago my wife's health insurance we obtained through her employer was very good, and very affordable. Now, we no longer have that coverage option, and instead can barely scrape together the dough to pay for a crappy Bronze plan that doesn't even pay for a frickin percoset! But again, my blog was about government over-reach into our safety programs. And unless they are comfortable with the 4,000 plus worker fatalities that have occurred over each of the past few years, pizza parties should be the least of OSHAs worries. So I am in agreement with you, we need our new President to appoint a great (not good) leader at OSHA - maybe someone like Daryll Hill!!!!!

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  7. While we're at it, let's re-visit the way OSHA generally uses the idea of "interpretation" to greatly expand it's reach and control. An easy example of this is the way they've "interpreted" the Recordkeeping updates to include a prohibition on most employer-directed post-incident drug-testing because in their eyes it's a way to discourage employee reporting. Much more sinister though was a talk by Asst. Secretary Michaels that I attended at AIHce 2016, where he described OSHA's frustrations with the rule-making process, and declared that they were considering vacating some existing standards (e.g., current PELs) so they could instead enforce to standard of their own choosing under the General Duty Clause. This kind of arrogance that they know best, not to mention flagrant abuse of authority, has got to end!

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    1. I think this is their new strategy. Issue a rule with a hidden trap, then quickly issue an :interpretation" to fit their real desire that they know would never get through the stakeholder comment period. They did the same thing in the new confined spaces in construction standard too.

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  8. Curtis, well done. Good eye opening read. I agree there is a fine line to walk with non reporting but being able to provide pizza parties or cupcake parties does go a long way in building camaraderie while generating a "buzz" about safety.

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  9. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has helped millions. In fact, 100s and 100s have signed up after the election. It needs to be reformed, not replaced. Go after the insurance companies for gouging prices. The reason why we needed Medicare for the elderly because the private HMOs didn't want to cover such cost. Opening state lines will not address the never ending increasing prices of healthcare costs. Why is ACA even under OSHA Training Services?

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    1. Thank you for your explanation. Did you read the other part about OSHA???

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  10. Well said. OSHA's job is not to insert itself into our companies and engineer our practices. The injuries that might not be reported because of a safety incentive (pizza party, t-shirt, etc.) are not serious. Any injury serious enough to need medical care (broken bone, bleeding laceration, etc)will not be concealed because of a t-shirt. This whole concept is out of line with what OSHA is meant for. AND the record keeping rule should not be a platform for political opinions on drug testing as OSHA has used it. Not only do they not want us to have pizza parties, but they impose their opinion in the same rule about drug post accident drug testing.. The only person that wont report an injury because of drug testing, is afraid of the drug test for good reason. Use of drugs absolutely does contribute to illness and injury. If an employer believes that drug testing is a useful tool for their own safety program, then they should not be dissuaded by politics at OSHA.

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  11. And so it goes that the current administration has besmirched the venerable OSH Act of 1971 ". . . to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions FREE OF PIZZA PARTY INCENTIVES and to preserve our human resources."

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. A couple of things in you comment need correcting, I believe:

      1) It's the OSH Act of 1970, not 1971 (probably a typo).

      2) Paragraph 5A1 of the OSH Act clearly states that it is THE EMPLOYERS responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. If an employer feels like a pizza party is a useful tool to help meet that goal in their particular company or organization, they should not be restricted by an overreaching government agency. And if OSHA has evidence that a hazard was not reported because of a pizza party, then they have every right to cite the employer. But OSHA should NOT, in my opinion, be micromanaging such things with a blanket policy like this. Over 4000 workplace fatalities in the US for each of the past several years - if this "interpretation" is the best OSHA can come up with, then they need to be dissolved.

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