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Bush Labor Dept. Secretly Writes Rule on Worker Exposure to Toxins

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:06 PM
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Bush Labor Dept. Secretly Writes Rule on Worker Exposure to Toxins /

by Mike Hall, Jul 23, 2008

For seven and a half years, the Bush administration has delayed and sometimes just refused to act on workplace safety and health rules that could save lives and prevent serious injuries. Had the administration acted on those stalled rules, it may have prevented the deaths of 13 workers in a Georgia sugar plant explosion in February and the more than a dozen crane accident deaths this year in New York City, Las Vegas, Miami and Houston.

Now, with time running out on the Bush White House, it is fast-tracking a secretly written rulelong sought by the business communitythat could increase workers exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxic substances on the job and tie the hands of future administrations trying to improve workplace safety.

Says Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO health and safety director:

This is flat-out secrecy. They are trying to essentially change the job safety and health laws and reduce required workplace protections through a midnight regulation.

The Washington Post reports this morning that political appointees in the Department of Labor are behind the drive to rewrite the rule on how to measure risks to workers posed by dangerous workplace chemicals.

The risk assessment proposal, which the Labor Department refuses to make public, also would add an extra step to the rulemaking process for any new rules restricting the amount of chemical and toxic substance exposure to workersin effect, giving corporations another tool to fight and delay safety regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The extra step would be especially valuable to Big Business under a new, more worker-safety-aggressive administration.

David Michaels, an epidemiologist and workplace safety professor at George Washington University, told the Post:

This is a guarantee to keep any worker safety regulation from every coming out of OSHA. This is being done in secrecy, to be sprung before President Bush leaves office, to cripple the next administration.

In 2006, a similar proposed new risk assessment standard was shot down, the Post reports, when the National Academy of Sciences called it fatally flawed and lacking scientific grounding.

FULL story at link.

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nebenaube Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:31 PM
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1. will be overturned by executive order....
Unless that power has been deleted by then.
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