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What Are EHS Leaders Saying about Obama?

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This summer, as part of our 2012 National Safety Survey, we asked EHS leaders how they expected the results of the presidential election might impact workplace safety in the United States. Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, let’s take a look back at what EHS leaders had to say about him and his approach to occupational safety and health. But be warned – some respondents didn't exactly pull any punches:

  • “Obama has not made any significant changes in his first 4 years, so most likely not to make any other changes if he wins.”
  • “If President Obama is elected again the entire country is doomed...”
  • “When President Obama wins re-election, we should continue to see safety as a priority.”
  • “Although safety is better supported under Democrats, our country and economy can't afford 4 more years of Obama. If the economy is in recession with no new work opportunities, then where is the safety concern if limited or no work opportunities are available?”
  • “President Obama's leadership has been very weak pertaining to occupational health and safety.”
  • “In my opinion as a non-U.S. citizen, if President Obama loses, workplace safety will suffer greatly.”
  • “Obama is pro-safety.”
  • “Obama will make [safety] worse. He is an utter moron and his handling of the economy proves it.”
  • “With Obama, it will be more bowing to unions and not addressing safety programs that have proven to make a positive difference like VPP. The EPA is completely out of control and has way too much power. It’s a sad day when a tree or a stream is more important than a human life!”
  • “If Obama keeps the job, there will be a continuation of current approaches and policies, although he may ask OSHA, MSHA, etc. to be more aggressive in enforcement of existing requirements.”
  • “Obama in a second term will allow OSHA, DOL and DOJ to become more punitive, reverse years of progress with damaging fines and jail sentences. This will be done to punish industry and build unions to get votes. “
  • “If Obama is reelected, taxes for business will raise, making it more difficult to afford safety equipment. Often, when funds lower, safety is where corners are cut.”
  • “If President Obama wins, OSHA will probably continue on the same path. The real changes in safety will occur through company initiatives, not OSHA.”
  • “If Obama wins, I see him pushing harder for unions and looking out for the big guys.”
  • “If Obama wins, there will be more enforcement.”
  • “A little progress would be made in workplace safety if President Obama wins re-election.”
  • “Neither candidate understands or is supportive of occupational safety and health, although Obama is far better than Romney.”
  • “I feel if Obama is re-elected, there will be more businesses closing. He does not support American workers, business or what is good for our country.”
  • “I2P2 or an ergonomics standard becoming law have a better chance under the Obama administration.”
  • “Under Obama we have Global Harmonization, a plus for international industry and an easier way for the ordinary worker/citizen to see health and safety concerns.”
  • “If President Obama is re-elected, things will continue to make some sluggish progress.”
  • “Obama has done nothing whatsoever for the middle class. Just a bunch of empty promises.”
  • “Under an Obama administration, I expect it to stay pretty much the way it is; a great deal of talk about positive change, but no real action that could rock the political boat.”
  • “I support Obama and hope he wins so we can continue progressing in safety.”
  • “Hopefully we have an Obama administration supported by a Democratic congress, then maybe we can finally get some badly needed OSHA standard revisions and updates through and signed into law. It is not true that more stringent health and safety laws hinder economic recovery. Injuries hinder profitability ... not laws that protect workers from injury.”
  • “An Obama win is bad for business but good for labor. If we took the politics out of OSHA ... wow, the agency might be able to make a difference.”

“The poor funding for OSHA is shameful,” another survey respondent wrote. “We lost fewer lives in Iraq than we lose annually in the U.S. to workplace injury and illness. Unfortunately, a second President Obama term would continue to be hampered by congressional budget constraints. If President Obama is re-elected, he needs to cut ties with extremist labor factions, stop the anti-business BS spewing from Dr. Michaels and work with moderate labor and moderate business factions to develop workable safety and health solutions that are acceptable to moderate labor and management factions and can truly make our workers and workplaces safer.”

Read "National Safety Survey 2012: The Politics of Safety" for more insights and opinions from EHS leaders.

Now you tell me – what do you think of these comments and of President Obama’s approach to occupational safety and health?

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on Nov 13, 2012

It's discouraging that a professional ePublication has comments that read like the comment section from a Yahoo news story, complete with name calling. Are we so uneducated and unsophisticated that we can't acknowledge the complexities of environmental regulation? The lack of scientific understanding and the imbalance of emotional ideologies are evident on both pro and anti envt. regulation camps. And please let's start discussing regulations as if we know the process that it takes to get regulations and budgets passed - public hearings, pressure from many sides, etc. And the President does not have unlimited power no matter how politically expedient it is to complain that he does.

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EHS OutLoud blog provides a candid look at health and safety issues both at work and at home.

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Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is editor-in-chief of EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. She has been...

Josh Cable

Josh Cable is senior editor of EHS Today, a Penton publication. In his nearly 15 years as a journalist, he has covered a wide range of topics, including banking and finance, occupational safety and...
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