Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bush Appoints Foxes to Guard Hen House

Two of the most important agencies that protect worker safety and health are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). President Bush has appointed industry insiders to head both.

Richard Stickler, with 30 years of work in the mine industry but little experience in mine health and safety.

As stated in an editorial in the Charleston (W.Va) Gazette, "Despite widespread belief that more communication equipment and better safety enforcement might have saved at least 11 of those men, Stickler told U.S. senators that current mine safety laws are 'adequate'. A day later, two more miners died in separate incidents in Boone County."

According to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney "His only experience with public enforcement of health and safety standards was marked by repeated attempts to limit regulations and reduce health and safety for miners in Pennsylvania".

Edwin Foulke is Bush's nominee to head OSHA. Foulke has been the Workplace Safety practice area coordinator at the law firm Jackson Lewis. This group, according to its web site, has "the expertise to contest citations before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission".

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