Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.Via Grist:
The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title. (Emphasis supplied)
It's Us Against Chem
Feds rush to weaken workplace safety rules on toxics before term ends
The Bush administration is trying to push through a new workplace safety rule to weaken workers' protections against toxic chemicals before it leaves office, according to The Washington Post.
The rule, which has not technically been made public but was leaked, would mandate a reevaluation of the methods used to measure risks to workers from toxic exposure in the workplace. The rule would also require the U.S. Department of Labor to entertain additional challenges to its risk assessments before establishing new limits on exposure to chemicals.
So far, work on the proposal has reportedly been fast-tracked and has been conducted largely in secret, drawing sharp criticism from worker advocates.
"This is a guarantee to keep any more worker safety regulation from ever coming out of [the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration]," said workplace safety professor David Michaels. "This is being done in secrecy, to be sprung before President Bush leaves office, to cripple the next administration." Once it's published, the rule will be open to public comment for 30 days.