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OSHA: Ergo battle will require allies with "spine and spirit" (10/23)

October 23, 2009
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Speaking at the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Health and Safety Conference Day, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Friday, September 25, 2009, acting OSHA boss Jordan Barab had this to say about having another go at setting an ergonomics standard:

“Soon we must confront the 60,000-pound elephant in the room: Ergonomics. Let's acknowledge a couple of obvious things about ‘ergo.’ First, it's a huge health and safety problem, recognized by strong science. Second, it's a huge political football that some very big players don't want to see on the field. Well, for the sake of our working men and women, we have to take the field and make some fundamental changes in America's workplaces.

”OSHA and its sister agency, NIOSH, can't manage this transformation alone. We need allies in the labor and environmental movements, and allies among students, scientists and sociologists.

”As OSHA moves into even more aggressive programs, we will need allies with spines and spirit. Instead of ceding leadership in the inevitable political debate to those ideologically driven business associations whose response to any enforcement or regulatory initiative is a reactive, unthinking "NO," we need allies in the progressive business community who will stand alongside America's labor unions and declare "Yes we can" and "Yes we will" - because we know that America draws its economic strength from a healthy and safe workforce.”

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