An interesting week just concluded here in Washington. It was almost like a perfect storm of events. 

First, we had the President announce his future plans for the war in Afghanistan, plans that include bringing home some of the troops. Of course, some in both political parties have problems with details of the plan. 

Second, the President announced that the U.S. would tap a portion of our strategic petroleum reserve to address the continued high cost of gasoline and perhaps add a boost to the economy. Of course, some in both political parties have problems with details of the plan. 

Third, one side backed out of the talks on how to reduce the federal debt. Seems there is a debate over whether or not we should cut spending or raise taxes. Of course, neither political party wants to give in on their preferred option. 

And finally, we are one week closer to the drop-dead date of whether or not both sides can get together on raising the national debt. Heck, they couldn’t get together on the current fiscal year federal budget - which entailed discussions of “billions” of dollars - do we really think they can get together on something that involves “trillions” of dollars? 

Why do I mention these issues; as it seems they have very little to do with occupational health and safety?

Because they actually have a huge impact on occupational health and safety! With the above issues occupying nearly 100 percent of the time on the Hill, there is virtually no time left to consider issues that might impact worker health and safety. 

I don’t have a solution to the problem but I would hope someone up there uses some common sense and realizes everything they do – or don’t do in this case – impacts the lives of everyday citizens. For once put party politics aside and compromise! And the same holds true for the two sides on occupational health and safety issues! 

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the AIHA newsletter, “Happenings From the Hill” Visit