Bush Vision of OSHA Silent on Ergonomics

Feb. 12, 2001
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) released a letter\r\nfrom President Bush that lays out his views on OSHA and occupational\r\nsafety and health.

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) released a letter from President Bush that lays out his views on OSHA and occupational safety and health.

Notable by it absence is any mention of Bush''s position on OSHA''s ergonomics standard.

The letter, received by ASSE before the Nov. 7 election, was Bush''s reply to questions the association posed to both major presidential candidates.

Gore failed to respond to the inquiry, and ASSE said it waited until Jan. 30 to release Bush''s letter "to maintain impartiality."

Bush began by stating, "promoting workplace safety is common goal that unites both employers and employees."

The following are excerpts from the letter:

Enforcement and Recordkeeping

"While the enforcement of health and safety regulations must remain a tool of OSHA, as president, I will place a renewed focus on education, consultation, training and outreach -- particularly for small businesses -- to be proactive and help prevent workplace accidents from occurring. OSHA''s worksite inspections should continue; however OSHA should move away from citing small businesses for unimportant paperwork violations and instead focus on serious violations that cause harm to workers.

OSHA Reform

"I believe the federal government has failed to adapt to the demands of the new economy and a new century. Unlike American businesses and many state and local governments, the federal government is still based on an outdated, centralized, ''one-size-fits-all'' hierarchical model. The previous administration''s ''reinventing government'' initiative has too often focused on oiling this old machinery rather than transforming it."

"...My ''getting results from government'' initiative will reform and modernize government on the basis of three key objectives. To make government 1) citizen-centered, not bureaucracy-centered; 2) results-oriented, not process-oriented; 3) market-based, actively promoting -- not stifling, innovation and competition. In my administration, I want federal agencies -- including OSHA --to see American citizens and businesses as partners, not resent them as rivals."

by James Nash

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