President Bush should issue a presidential memorandum within the first 100 days in office to establish worker protection, pollution prevention and environmental stewardship as "core management values throughout the federal government," the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) said in a resolution on Jan. 11.
A draft presidential memo and supporting documents will be forwarded to the Bush Administration by FACOSH.
The draft memo will ask each agency head to conduct a baseline assessment of the department''s occupational safety, health and environmental management programs, systems and organizations, and identify weaknesses, steps to address them and estimate how much it would cost to make that federal agency "a model for the nation''s employers."
One of the memo''s "talking points" suggests that Bush tackle the issue because although injury/illness rates and toxic emissions are falling in the private sector, "the federal government has not shared fully in this progress."
Federal workers are six times as likely as private sector employees to sustain lost time injuries and illnesses, according to a Conference Board study conducted last year that was cited by the FACOSH work group.
If the federal government was able to perform as well as the best private companies, the government would reduce injuries and illnesses by 59,000 and save taxpayers more than $1.7 billion a year in future compensation costs and productivity losses, the group estimated.
FACOSH workgroup members include eight federal agency management representatives and eight union representatives.
by Virginia Sutcliffe