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Foulke Resigns Post at OSHA

He was on hand at the Washington Forum in May 2007 to sign the historic agreement with the National Association for Surface Finishing. Now comes news that the Honorable Edwin Foulke, Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has left his post to join an Atlanta law firm.

Foulke, who headed the agency since April 2006, was an often polarizing figure among labor and industry stakeholders, inside sources said. He faced strong criticism during his tenure from Democratic lawmakers and organized labor for the agency's dearth of new health and safety standards, but was praised by industry for his focus on voluntary compliance and industry outreach.

A health and safety expert for the AFL-CIO said she was disappointed that many of OSHA's accomplishments during Foulke's tenure were the result of either litigation, such as OSHA's rules on hexavalent chromium and employer payment for personal protective equipment, or legislation. The official noted, however, that she placed much of the responsibility for OSHA's inactivity with Labor Secretary Elaine Chao rather than Foulke.
 
A former Clinton-era OSHA official described Foulke's agency as in "hibernation" for the past several years and could not name any noteworthy accomplishments by the agency. He said he looked forward to OSHA becoming more active under an Obama Administration.
 
An industry stakeholder praised Foulke for advancing a "sincere message and at least getting the message out" during his time as OSHA chief and giving up his position at the law firm Jackson Lewis to lead the agency for a largely disinterested Bush administration. The stakeholder described Foulke as a "communicator" and had particular praise for OSHA's industry outreach under Foulke's leadership.
 
During Foulke's tenure, Labor Department and OSHA officials repeatedly touted dropping injury and fatality rates as evidence that OSHA's emphasis on voluntary compliance was working. Union sources countered that they believed injury and illness rates were being underreported.
 
In a statement last week confirming Foulke's resignation, DOL again praised Foulke for overseeing the agency at a time of dropping injury and fatality rates, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In summary: "As we near the end of the Administration, it is expected that political appointees will pursue other employment opportunities and challenges. Assistant Secretary Edwin Foulke will depart OSHA at the end of this week to pursue such challenges having led his agency to achieve the lowest injury, illness, and fatality rates in recorded OSHA history. American workers are safer today thanks to the dedication and service of Assistant Secretary Foulke and his team."

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Comments

flexone said

23 April 2010
Once again, here comes more government regulation designed to decrease productivity, lower profits and destroy many small companies and all unionized plants. The sttitude of the Left is that all employers are evil and want to injure or even kill their employees to get more profit. This is riduculous and would be counter productive for employers because even indifferent or "bad" employers who didn't care at all about their workers and simply looked at them as producers similar to machines would hardly want to destroy their productivity and wouldn't purposely make a work environmrnt that would likely injure people any more than they would put their machines at risk by failing to maintain them or operating them in a way that would likely break them. Most employers do care about their employees as people and make extraordinary effort to keep them safe and happy so they can retain them. It does happen to be true though that some jobs are dangerous, dirty and hard. If someone can find a way to make the work easier and safer then great, we all win. If not then it takes a special kind of person to be willing to do those jobs but they should know the risk before they start and not gripe about it if it happens to be truwhat they were told. I don't want anyone to do a job they aren't willing to to do or take any risk they are unwilling to take. We all try to ensure that the work is safe and everyone has the best protection avaiable BUT nothing is 100% safe and never will be.Howver the nannies in government and on the Left seem to think ANY risk is avoidable and ANY cost is worth it to reduce even that are imaginary- like the totally unproven "risks" of chemical exposure to anything more complex than water. If you want zero risk then we will have zero produced. Do you really want to give up everything modern industry produces so you can claim that everyone is now "safe" ? Go ahead and then all you have to watch out for is lightning, bad weather and, oh yeah, starvation from the lack of food that used to be produced by use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and preservatives and better be prepared for death from disease that used to prevented by cleaners, disinfectants and pharmaceutical drugs that are now, safely, not made any more.

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