It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the new administration is looking to potentially reduce safety & health regulations in the workplace. Is it just a coincidence the new Crystalline Silica standard has been pushed back until September 23rd and new recordkeeping requirements are being challenged in court? Depending on who you ask will determine the answer.
Earlier this year, an Executive Order was issued requiring federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new one introduced. This Order resulted in the watchdog group Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and labor union Communications Workers of America filing a lawsuit against President Trump and other government officials on February 8th in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. (Safety&Health,2017).
The lawsuit claims the Order “exceeds President Trump’s constitutional authority, violates his duty under the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, and directs federal agencies to engage in unlawful actions that will harm countless Americans, including plaintiff’s members” (Safety&Health,2017). In a statement given by Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton: “This violates the mission of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to protect workers’ safety and health. It also violates common sense.” But not everyone is against the Order. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue stated in a press release: “the U.S. Chamber applauds the president for fulfilling the campaigns promise to take on the regulatory juggernaut that is limiting economic growth, choking small businesses, and putting people out of work” (Safety&Health,2017).
Whichever side you may find yourself on, we can all certainly agree regulation in the workplace is in for some changes. Elections have consequences. But that doesn’t need to define who we are as safety professionals and contractors. Protecting workers is good business. The best health & safety programs do just that, as well as find efficiencies in processes, eliminate unnecessary hazards, and create a positive workplace culture will all lead to profitable organizations. It’s a simple and tested formula where everyone wins.