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8/22/2004

Safe working environments...not anymore


Bush guts OSHA rules
(information obtained through various labor, news and workforce websites)
Great editorial cartoon on the subject, click here

Decades of struggles by workers and their unions have made workplaces safer. But the fight to protect workers is getting more difficult. The Bush administration has joined with business groups to roll back and block key worker protections-taking America in the wrong direction.
In fact, the Bush administration has the worst record on safety rules in the entire history of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal workplace safety agency.
Here are the facts about Bush's record on workplace safety.

  • Bush killed workplace ergonomic protections. On March 20, 2001, President Bush signed legislation repealing the ergonomics standards designed to protect workers from repetitive motion and back injuries.

  • He rolled back or blocked dozens of workplace safety and health rules. In December 2001, the Bush administration announced the withdrawal of 29 rules that would have protected workers from serious hazards at work.

  • Bush administration favors employers over workers. The administration's fiscal year 2005 OSHA budget proposed cutting safety training programs for workers by 65 percent, while increasing funding for employer programs.

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Safety: Evolve Not De-Evolve

As anyone can see these changes favor large corporations and are essentially de-evolving the workplace back to subpar safety standards of 100 years ago.

At the turn of the century workers had no rights and safety was not a concern of business owners. Workers were expendable and if one person died from a work-related accident all they would have to do is clean up the mess and go on with biz as usually.

Labor Unions formed through the help of immigrant workers whom were being mistreated just like American-born laborers were and over time this organizational effort helped workers have the ability to fight back against their employers. Not only was a higher wage demanded, but in almost every single grievance SAFETY was the top priority. Even the federal government agreed that a safe work environment was ESSENTIAL for workers and the economy.

What happened?

Some blame it on greedy lawyers who jumped on workers compensation cases like piranhas. Right-wingers say workers started demanding more rights than were necessary. Some so-called financial experts even side with the companies and believe that safety regulations prohibited businesses to operate to their full potential.

The fact of the matter is a safe working environment is not an option. Workplaces should be fully regulated by the federal government and bodies like OSHA. These offices are necessary to regulate big business and to be there to ensure workers will be safe....cause the companies sure ain't going to do it.

Human life is not something that can be measured in profits and losses. It should be the sworn duty of CEO's to force their companies to have the highest safety standards imaginable. What happened to the idea of a happy and safe worker means more production and higher profit?
What is happening here is the beginning of the oppression of the American laborer. Ask your grandparents what it was like to work in factories and other jobs at the turn of the century. Man is supposed to evolve not de-evolve.

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