When we started Effect Measure almost four and half years ago, there were few public health oriented blogs. One notable exception — and an exceptional exception it was — was blogger Jordan Barab’s Confined Space. It wasn’t just a health and safety blog. It was the health and safety blog. It was almost the only way most health and safety professionals could keep track of what was happening in their field politically. When we started this blog Jordan had been blogging daily for about 18 months, and we met for coffee. Neither of us expected my blog would outlast his, but a couple of years ago he left his post at the Chemical Safety Board to work on the staff of the Education and Labor Committee in the House. Confined Space was put on the shelf — sort of — it continues on an occasional basis with that name under the wing of The Pump Handle blog. Jordan wasn’t just any old blogger, either. As a blogger myself I now appreciate much more fully the skill and dedication it took to put out such a high quality product every day, day after day. He was an amazing writer and reporter and he did it all at the end of a long workday, on his own. And as a defender of workers and their health and safety he was in the very top rank.
Well, he’s no longer a blogger and no longer a Congressional staffer. We just learned via The Pump Handle that blogger extraordinaire Jordan Barab has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and until a permanent OSHA Director is named he will be Acting Assistant Secretary (i.e., OSHA Director):
The Pump Handle has obtained an email sent to OSHA staff announcing that Jordan Barab will be Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and Acting Assistant Secretary. Blog readers may be familiar with Jordan because his Confined Space blog was for several years the number-one online source of news and opinion about worker health and safety.
Of course, Jordan also lots of work experience not directly related to his blogging: He spent 16 years running AFSCME?s health and safety program; served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for OSHA; was a recommendations specialist for the Chemical Safety Board; and then became a senior policy advisor to the House of Representatives? Education and Labor Committee. (Liz Borkowski, The Pump Handle)
If you go back through the archives of Confined Space you’ll find post after post taking the Bush administration OSHA to task for falling down on the job of protecting workers’ health. Now the hand that typed those posts will be running the agency.
The bottom line here is that workers who would have died under the old regime will now live. Mirabile dictu!