Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Who Do You Trust? OSHA or DOT?

Interesting Washington Post column on the fight over whether OSHA or the Department of Transportation should have over handling hazardous materials.
The clash involves responsibility for hazmat oversight by the Department of Transportation vis-à-vis the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Business reads the legislation to say that OSHA should supervise only a small section of the law, the "subsection," which has to do mostly with training. Labor reads the same law to say that the DOT cannot preempt OSHA from protecting workers who handle hazardous material, including equipping them with protective gear.
This debate is illustrative of a problem in the OSHA act which gives government agencies the authority to manage their own health and safety if they simply claim that jurisdiction -- no matter how effective their programs are.