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One man's vision for a reinvigorated OSHA (6/10)

June 10, 2009
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William C. Collier, Esq., CIH, an attorney with the firm McDonald & Collier, has circulated the following agenda for OSHA priorities drawn up by one of the candidates for the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA appointment, Southern California industrial hygiene consultant Hamid Arabzadeh.

  • OSHA’s first priority will be to advance new health and safety standards with particular focus updating the existing permissible exposure limits (PELs) that are unfortunately the same now as when OSHA was enacted in 1970.

  • OSHA will immediately begin the process of developing and enforcing new standards for such chemicals as hexavalent chromium, silica, diacetyl and beryllium.

  • OSHA will vastly increase its enforcement of existing chemical exposure standards. Just enforcing existing standards will save thousands of lives.

  • OSHA will begin the process of developing standards and methods to protect farm workers, many of whom are migrants without the political power and protection of unions, have been exposed to herbicides and pesticides at dangerous levels. These workers have been neglected for far too long. This effort will need to include major Congressional help to both change existing law and streamline the informal rulemaking.

  • OSHA will also focus on health related hazards in small businesses. There will be aggressive outreach and education efforts, followed by enforcement efforts.

  • OSHA will develop and implement new and more protective standards on trenching, cranes and derricks, confined spaces and hearing conservation.

  • OSHA needs to increase Compliance officers dramatically. Mr. Arabzadeh has suggested that he will push for a 30% increase in safety officers and a 200% increase in industrial hygienists.

  • OSHA will review and consider adoption of international standards where such standards would better protect American workers. Some areas of focus include service and hospitality industries, healthcare organizations, farms and agricultural settings, and topics such as ergonomics, endotoxins, nano technology, toxicology and other health and safety information.

  • OSHA will start using science and will end the lack of reliance on science and find new ways to better protect workers using science.

  • OSHA must have more funding than the $513 million allocated currently by the Obama Administration. This will need to be an immediate priority for new head of OSHA.

  • OSHA needs a separate directorate, within the Agency, for health or industrial hygiene standards.

  • Said Collier: “In effect, if Mr. Arabzadeh gets the nomination to become the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, he has big plans, and I know him well enough to know that he won’t back down and he won’t give up.”

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