In a world of cold and darkness, a land pierced by snow and the work of man, one human stands above them all making sure people like miners and construction workers can go about their jobs in safety. Go about their jobs in safety? Wait. I’m sorry. I meant completely unprotected by rollbacks of regulation, increasing the risks of injury, death, and cancer. Not an increase in safety.
Since President Trump has come to power, he has signed 93 executive orders. Of that number, only two of them directly affects businesses. They are creatively named Executive Order 13789: Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens and Executive Order 13777: Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. There would also be a second document that would come out a little less than eight months later to add on and clarify some things. If you want something to help put you to sleep tonight, I highly recommend both of these documents.
The orders sought to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people” - Executive Order 13777.
The results of these orders have caused changes in funding for organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This may not seem that important. It sounds like a wonderful idea to spend less money on unnecessary things like burdensome taxes when that money could go to something useful like paying off our immense national debt or building a wall to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country. Saving money is great. Saving money at the expense of other people’s safety isn’t so great.
In 2017, Safety and Health Magazine reported “recent regulations such as the injury and illness record keeping rule, the silica rule and the so-called “blacklisting rule” all could be in jeopardy under the Trump administration.” And that’s exactly what happened. The safety of workers has been put in jeopardy ever since these orders were put in place.
An exclusive report from Reuters told the story of a man named Wardell Davis who worked for a plumbing and heating company. Conditions were so poor that within three years, Davis had terrible breathing problems. It got so bad that he ended up going to the hospital. He now lives on one lung, incapable of working another day in his life.
Because of the Trump administration’s newly established executive orders, others like Davis will continue to be hurt by these lax regulations. The same article spoke of Representative of Alabama, Bradley Byrne had been leading the charge remove “ancillary provisions” which would protect people in manufacturing occupations. Common risks in these fields include hearing loss and the inhalation of toxic chemicals like beryllium, which was what happened to Davis.
Byrne voiced his support for removing these preventative provisions because he was concerned that it would “kill jobs” along the Gulf Coast. He is now arranging member of the Workforce Protection Subcommittee as of Jan. 28, 2019.
It seems as though money speaks louder than words, more than deaths ever could. It’s important that we bring this issue to public attention. Lives are actually at risk. Actions need to be made. We need to make sure that people are safe when they go to work everyday. This involves doing everything in our power to make sure our communities are acting in our best interest. In our friends’ best interest, our neighbors’ too. If our politicians will not do what is right for the people, we must.