Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Foulke's Future: OSHA Alliance With Weight Watchers?

From Confined Space Roving Correspondent Bill Kojola

Our soon-to-be nominated and likely future leader of OSHA has recently been on a kick to get "fat" out of the workplace. That's right, Ed is zeroing in on what he thinks is a major workplace problem - OBESITY. It's the cause of much of our problems in the workforce according to Chairman Foulke -- things like decreased productivity, increased workplace violence and musculoskeletal disorders -- and may lead to the destruction of our workers' comp and health care systems and the ruin of the business community!

Sound preposterous?? Not at all - let's follow the bouncing ball. Ed is active as a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and it's Employee Health, Safety & Security Committee and he's been speaking out:
The obesity epidemic is a smoldering time bomb on HR's (human resources) doorway. The problem has been identified, but so far, real solutions haven't been discovered. Unless they are -- and soon -- the economic fallout will be devastating. The health care and workers' comp systems may collapse, many employers will be driven out of business...or all of the above.
And in July 8, 2004 testimony before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Tax, Finance, and Exports on HR 1818, the Workforce Health Improvement Program Act, Chairman Ed says:
First, for those employers and employees who take advantage of this bill's provisions, it is almost guaranteed that their employees will suffer less health-related on-the-job injuries. Specifically, with more frequent exercise, employees will strengthen their muscle tone and as a result will be less susceptible to back injuries and muscle strain.

Furthermore, reducing obesity in the workplace will in turn reduce some psychological disorders such as depression. This in turn could reduce violence in the workplace.
Whew! Such enlightenment. A future OSHA standard on obesity?? The standards writing shop needs something to do -- and now here's a standard the Bush folks might like.