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Worker protection under safety program targeting unsafe employers was illusory

It will come as a surprise to few people to learn that the Bush Administration failed to effectively regulate known unsafe employers in a program intended to target particularly dangerous firms and industries.  A recent Labor Department Report found that the protections to be offered by the program were illusory, due to a combination of mismanagement and inadequate resources.

In 2008, the Bush Administration reduced the number of employers covered in the program from 710 to 475.  The Report noted that 58 "subsequent fatalities" were suffered at 45 worksites where proper investigation and oversight in response to an initial death would have prevented repeated fatalities.  It provided specific examples.  It criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's data-gathering, investigation, inspection and enforcement, noting that even when the Agency intervened, it often did not follow through or enforce its decisions.  The Report also noted that the Agency frequently allowed itself to be duped by confusion over ownership interests that disguised repeated unsafe actions and decisions taken by the same ownership entities.

You cannot expect people who do not believe in regulation and who think that "government is the problem" to act affirmatively to make governmental programs work effectively.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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