Thought Leadership


Puny ole OSHA? No for me…

February 4, 2014

NOTE: This blog post is in response to one by ISHN Editor Dave Johnson entitled, "Stop picking on puny ole OSHA." Click here to read that post.

OSHA may be “puny” relative to other government agencies but it is far from puny for its regulated community jurisdiction, particularly, for safety professionals and our employers, when the leadership of OSHA is all about radical left wing political agenda. OSHA can indeed wreak havoc on the work of safety professionals and their management teams and employee colleagues to achieve safety excellence.

Who is OSHA today? What are they known for? “There is a New Sheriff in Town.”  “VPP should be eliminated as should Compliance Assistance.” “We are here to cite you and fine you, not help you.” They create an avalanche of shaming press releases. They introduce pure political agenda regulations such as Electronic Tracking of Injuries/Illnesses and I2P2.

All of this is nothing more than political agenda under the cover of safety. It is retrograde OSHA—back to the 1970s and the similar extreme arrogance and political agenda focus of Eula Bingham.

My objection is not about enforcement of the 40+ years of regulations on the books. It is about the appointed political administration of OSHA using their administrative and regulatory powers to enact their political agenda or enable the political agenda of their left wing colleagues—all under the cover of benefiting safety.

I pose this question. Given that the OSHA leadership has transformed OSHA retrograde to the 1970s, if your industry was not covered by OSHA, such as these small-number-of- employee farms, and your industry  perceived  OSHA seeking to put your industry under their boot, would you and your colleagues push back with every tool you could find to try to prevent that happening?

But you might say: “What will be done about the tragic incidents on these farms?”  Walking down grain in bins for example—a well- documented major hazard. And on these farms it is probably family members, probably young people, who are the victims.

With OSHA’s New Sheriff in Town political agenda style, could OSHA even have any positive impact on these farms and these hazards?  Frankly, I doubt it. There has to be a level of trust but this administration of OSHA has deliberately squandered that trust.

Even the small general industry sites that have long been under the jurisdiction of OSHA, struggle hard to achieve compliance and sustain it.

Yes, there are state services to help sites with compliance but the leadership of federal OSHA sets the tone for all of that to be effective---or not—by its overall approach.

Safety professionals are having to push back to protect ourselves from the OSHA’s leadership’s pure sophistry on this Electronic Tracking of Injuries and Illnesses regulation. Thus, “puny ole OSHA” does not elicit any sympathy from me.

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