NYCOSH to Obama: Here's How to Fix OSHA
In the latest issue of its quarterly newsletter, Safety Rep, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) assembles a broad range of advocates from labor, government, academia, public health, and workers' rights organizations to answer the question, "After 8 years of Bush, can OSHA be fixed?" Their answer is, in short, not without a struggle.
NYCOSH says the special issue was produced specifically for the Obama administration to outline priorities for OSHA as a new era begins in Washington. The concerns addressed in the publication include the immediate need for a mandate from the new administration to issue standards already in the pipeline; increased funding for worker training programs; programs to aggressively reach out to immigrant workers and the organizations that work with them; strategies to protect worker safety and health during disaster response; new requirements to prevent underreporting of injuries and illnesses; and the need to establish mandatory labor-management safety and health committees.
"Since its inception in 1970, OSHA has never been given the resources it needs to accomplish its mission," says NYCOSH Executive Director Joel Shufro. "However, during the last eight years, the agency has been administered by political appointees more concerned with the health of corporations than the health of workers." The publication's lead editorial adds, "The fight will not be easy, but for the first time in a long time, the possibilities of moving our agenda forward appear real."
Among the issue's contributors are Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO; Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers; Denis Hughes, president, New York State AFL-CIO; Ed Ott, executive director, New York City Central Labor Council; Bill Borwegan, occupational health and safety director, SEIU; U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney; Jeanne Stellman, professor and chair, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, SUNY-Downstate Medical Center; Drs. Robin Herbert and Phillip Landrigan, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Eric Frumin, health and safety director, UNITE HERE; and Joseph Hughes Jr, director, NIEHS, Worker Education and Training Program (WETP).
To download a copy of the special issue, "Can OSHA be fixed? What must be done" (a 20-page PDF), click here.