Sunday, August 31, 2003

Public Employers: Free From Ideological B.S?

I wrote the other day about a city in North Carolina that had received an OSHA citation and used it as inspiration to improve their health and safety program. Now we have another town in Kentucky that is forming an "OSHA Compliance Committee" to bring the city into compliance with the state's OSHA regulations. This action was also in response to an OSHA citation that resulted from an employee's complaints.
County to form OSHA compliance group

Scott County (KY) will form a committee to improve departments’ compliance with the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.

The implementation of the OSHA Compliance Committee was granted by the Scott County Fiscal Court at Thursday night’s meeting.

The decision comes on the heels of OSHA fining the Scott County Fire Department $21,350 in proposed penalties and citing it for 15 violations in a report issued July 16.

The fines and violations were in response to 21 complaints filed by an employee on April 29 with the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Complaints alleged the unnecessary use of force, violations of standard operating procedures and poor records keeping.
I'm not sure if this is a pattern, but it is interesting that public employers often seem to be far less hostile to OSHA than private sector employers, just as they seem to be generally much less hostile to unions and organizing than private sector employees. My hypothesis is that many private sector companies have been led astray (contaminated) by the government affairs people either in the Washington office (of large companies) or (for smaller companies) in the associations they belong to, like the National Association of Manufacturers or the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

In other words, in a better world, the behavior of small businesses might be similar to the constructive behavior of these municipalities if it wasn't for the fact that the small (and large) businesses were ideologically contaminated by the assocations, the Republican party and their Government Affairs types.

Why, you ask? Is it because the Republicans get more support if the business community thinks the sky is falling? Is it because business associations get more members if they scare the shit out of small businesses? Good questions! To be explored more later....