Jordan Barab, author of the popular, pro-labor safety blogConfined Space, is ending his participation in the site. The former director of AFSCME’s health and safety program, OSHA labor liaison under Clinton, and AFL-CIO health and safety consultant announced this week that he has accepted a position in the new Democratic-controlled Congress with the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Confined Space, orhttp://spewingforth.blogspot.com, was launched in 2003, according to Barab, in response to the deaths of two Columbia astronauts and the repeal of OSHA’s ergonomics standard, primarily as an editorial outlet for its author. But over the last several years, the site’s regular updates and commentaries on worker injuries and deaths, as well as regulatory news, attracted a large number of people involved in the field of safety, and was certainly the largest, if not the only, safety-specific blog in the industry. For his efforts, Barab won several Internet awards and has been quoted as a worker safety advocate in a number of news sources, including theWashington Post.
Before the farewell posting, Barab’s last entry profiled a guest of Hillary Clinton at Tuesday’s State of the Union address whose father died from complications related to his work cleaning up Ground Zero after 9/11. The post typified theConfined Spacestyle: poignant, fresh, topical, and ever critical of the current president and his administration.
Barab noted that his new position would allow him to better accomplish the goals he set out to achieve with his online commentary, but also that personal reasons and time constraints made this the time to close up shop.
Wrote Barab in his farewell entry, “I’m tired – bone tired – not just from lack of sleep ... but also from writing the same sad stories – with different names and details – over and over again. More and more frequently I’ve gotten the sense that I’m repeating myself; I’m not sure I have anything new to say anymore. And maybe there isn’t really anything new to say; maybe it’s always the same basic story; only the names and dates change. And so, although it’s incredibly hard to think about leaving this behind, this is an opportunity to move beyond writing to facilitate change.”