Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

Jun
9

A return to the dark ages?

No OSHA administrator.

Rollback of regulations on exposure limits for beryllium and silica.

Eliminating the Chemical Safety Board.

These are just three examples of the Trump Administration’s apparent move to de-emphasize worker safety, and appear to be a harbinger of things to come. There’s no question the current regime is focused on business’ interests; what’s troubling is there appears to be no recognition that worker safety IS good business.

As a frequent and scathing critic of some of ProPublica’s past mis-reporting on workers’ comp, I do have to acknowledge they have done good work reporting on individual companies abusing workers, particularly undocumented immigrants. However, the ProPublicas of the world have been mostly silent on these alarming changes at the Federal level. These self-appointed watchdogs made hay two years ago using distortions and anecdote to pillory an entire industry; I would suggest that their reporting expertise would be well-employed if it focused on the potential long-term impact of the Trump Administration’s rollback in worker safety.

As a side note, WCRI’s just-published report on wage replacement for long term injured workers in Michigan brings some much-needed perspective to this key issue. If the feds are going to roll back safety enforcement, the burden is going to fall on individual states. That will require resources that many state legislators will be loathe to find in these days of tax revolts.

What does this mean for you?

Don’t buy cheap chicken.


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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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