Wednesday, October 05, 2005

OSHA: Reality or Spoof, Who Can Tell Anymore?

Checking OSHA's Website is becoming almost as fun as checking out The Onion.

Not even a week after showing itself off as a muscular, tough regulatory agency handing down $20 million penalties to those who would ignore the law and kill workers, OSHA has returned to its more comfortable personna as the Bush administration agency most dedicated to making itself irrelevant to the mission Congress gave it.

Instead of actually issuing enforceable standard to protect workers, OSHA instead forms Alliances with just about every organization in the phone book. Alliances, as you know, are "cooperative programs...that enable organizations committed to safety and health to work with OSHA to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace" blah, blah, blah. On the whole the program has been pretty worthless, but now they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Check out this press release:

OSHA Signs Alliance with the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists

Hello? Canine Cosmetologists?

OK, so maybe I'm being mean and uncaring. I'm sure that canine cosmologists have serious workplace safety problems -- primarily ergonomic problems, according to the press release. But I can't help but think that dog bites (I'm sorry, I meant "canine mastication") must be a problem as well, not to mention flea bites and the pesticides that go with them. And then there's the noise problem. (I mean, have you ever spent much time in a kennel or dog grooming establishment -- I'm sorry, a "Canine Coiffeur Salon?") And then there's scissor cuts, exposure to canine fecal matter (dog doo) and there's that disgusting stuff that comes out of their anal glands.

Finally, as all canine cosmetologists know (but are reluctant to admit), overbrushing raises the risk of spontaneous canine combustion, which -- if you survive -- can then lead to assaults by pet owners. Imagine how upset you'd be if you dropped little Fifi off at your friendly neighborhood canine cosmetologist in the morning and were handed the Krispy Kritter in the evening.

But enough pussyfootin' around.

What the hell is the matter with this agency? How can they possibly be fooling around with these idiotic Alliances with these ridiculous associations when over 5,700 workers died last year in American workplaces and OSHA's budget doesn't come anywhere near to being able to employ enough inspectors to pose a credible deterrent to employers who would rather cut corners that provide a safe workplace?

And, while we're ranting, let's take a closer look at the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists. As far as I can tell, it's basically a one-woman, for-profit, institution designed promote the name, career and bank account of a woman named Pam Lauritzen, the owner and founder of Pam Lauritzen & Company which

is the parent company of a group founded by Pam Lauritzen to promote pride, participation and greater professionalism within the pet styling industry. Included in this group is the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC), PetStylist Magazine, U.S. Pet Pro Classic in Dallas, Gateway to the West in St. Louis and most recently,
Pam is a leader and pioneer within the Pet Styling industry for over 30 years.

Pam was selected to be the first Chairman of the Board for the International Pet Groomers, Inc. and is currently the founder and Executive Director of the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC).

Pam is the creator and manager of the U.S. Pet Pro Classic, a major pet styling show and the largest such show in the American Southwest. She continues to conduct a variety of Advanced Continuing Education seminars and is the author of Super Coats, Shear Control, Shear Illusions, Handling Problem Dogs and How Much are You Worth.

Now I nothing against Pam Lauritzen. I'm a Scotty owner myself. No one appreciates quality canine cosmetology more than I. And if she wants to make herself into the Donald Trump of pet styling, more power to her. Good old fashioned American entrepreneurship and all that.

But what business does OSHA have wasting its scarce resources (and our tax dollars) forming an Alliance with this woman that whose main result will be to attract more business to her vast empire of pet styling magazines and conferences? Is this really the best way OSHA can think of to save the lives of American workers? Do we really think that a single Congressman or Senator who voted to pass the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 suspected in their wildest dreams that this agency could sink so low?

If I was involved in this travesty, I'd be too embarrassed to show my face, much less put out a press release. Obviously, they have no shame.

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