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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Thursday, June 26, 2008 ::

    It All Depends on Who You Ask - posted by Rick Melberth, OMB Watch
    No fewer than four times, committee members asked Foulke, in one way or another, if OSHA needed more resources for inspections, training, enforcement, or to get rules written to protect American workers. Foulke did not answer that question even once. His standard response was to talk about the progress OSHA is making in reducing the rates of injuries and accidents.

    The irony of repeating that mantra before the committee — a committee that had, the week before, learned about the underreporting of injuries, that had just pointed out to him the soaring rates of increases in injuries among Hispanic construction workers, and that asked him to explain why the rates of fatalities in Canada and several European countries were about half the U.S. average — seemed lost on Foulke.

    According to testimony at the hearing by the union representative, four construction workers die each day in the U.S., around 1,200 to 1,500 workers each year. That is 10 times the number of law enforcement officials and 10 times the number of firefighters lost each year. Let's stop asking the administration how it's doing and start documenting the uncomfortable facts about its performance. It may not change agency behavior at this late date, but at least such information can teach us how not to govern.
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