Congress asks “is OSHA working?”

Two congressional committees, one in the House the other in the Senate will hold oversight hearings this week on OSHA.  The timing is quite fitting: Saturday, April 28 is Worker Memorial Day

On Tuesday, April 24, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Education and Labor Committee’s hearing “Have OSHA Standards Kept Up with Workplace Hazards?” will feature testimony from OSHA Assistant Secretary Edwin Foulke.  On Thursday, April 26, the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety will conduct a hearing entitled “Is OSHA Working for Working People?”

Witnesses at the April 24th hearing will be:

  • Edwin Foulke, Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA
  • Eric Peoples, a worker suffering from bronchiolitis obliterans related to his exposure to butter-flavoring at a microwave popcorn packaging plant
  • Scott Schneider, Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund
  • Baruch Fellner, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher
  • Frank Mirer, PhD, Hunter College

Readers of the former Confined Space will recall the name Baruch Fellner and his legal advice to employers to use the “classic employee misconduct defense” and his diligent efforts on behalf of his clients to defeat ergonomic regulations proposed by OSHA and the State of Washington, as well as the voluntary program proposed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Safety Council.  Mr. Fellner’s colleague in the firm’s labor and employment practice branch is former Solicitor of Labor Eugene Scalia (son of the Supreme Court justice) and an opponent in his own right of OSHA’s ergonomic standard.

The witnesses for the April 26th hearing are: 

  • David Michaels, PhD, George Washington University
  • Margaret Seminario, AFL-CIO
  • Jan Bell, injured nurse from Renton, Washington
  • Thomas Cecich, CSP, CIH consultant

Comments

  1. #1 Brett
    April 24, 2007

    From watching George Miller’s other hearings(two) on the issue I doubt he’ll pay too much credence to those invited who are against workplace safety; his committee seems to do a good job giving respect to those people, but sending them to the cleaner at the same time

    All these hearings are great, but I’m still hoping to see some real legislative changes- I don’t see these hearings addressing the loss of worker grants from OSHA im ’08.

    One thing that amazes me about these hearings is the ability of those who would be happy to see people get injured sit right next to those they mean to harm and keep a straight face- I often wonder how much training evil gives.