Wonderful to relate

by Henry Farrell on April 15, 2009

From “Hilzoy”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_04/017732.php.

If you have been reading public health blogs for a couple of years, you probably know, and miss, Confined Space, a blog about worker health and safety issues. If you don’t, you missed a great blog, the kind that really educates you about an issue that it’s hard for non-professionals to learn about otherwise. … Confined Space closed up shop a bit over a year ago when Jordan Barab, who wrote it, went to work for the House Education and Labor Committee. … From the Effect Measure post that I linked above, which is aptly titled “Miracle at OSHA”:

“Jordan Barab has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and until a permanent OSHA Director is named he will be Acting Assistant Secretary (i.e., OSHA Director) (…)If you go back through the archives of Confined Space you’ll find post after post taking the Bush administration OSHA to task for falling down on the job of protecting workers’ health. Now the hand that typed those posts will be running the agency. The bottom line here is that workers who would have died under the old regime will now live. Mirabile dictu!”




MH 04.15.09 at 3:44 am

Speaking of safety, I managed to install a new sump pump in the basement without shocking myself. Since it was my own house, OSHA wasn’t a player, but I’m always happy when I get through episodes of water+electricity without problems.


Thomas 04.15.09 at 4:13 am

He started the blog because he believed the repeal of the ergonomics standards was a “travesty of justice” and now his admirers are talking about the lives he’ll save. Well, I suppose once we’ve gone with pseudoscience, why not go all the way to fantasy.


dylan 04.15.09 at 5:08 am

Thomas, I suppose it is a waste of time to point out your dumb distortions. From the Confined Space blog:

Two events inspired me to launch this blog in March 2003. Following the deaths of the Columbia astronauts in 2002, I woke up one morning realizing that while a few workers killed in a workplace accident sometimes receive enormous media attention, most workers die alone and unnoticed by anyone except their immediate families and friends. Something had to be done to ensure that these thousands aren’t dying in vain.

The second event was the repeal of the OSHA ergonomics standard by the Republican Congress and the Bush White House. That travesty of justice taught me that if we’re going to make – and sustain — any progress on workplace safety in this country, many more people have to understand what’s happening in American workplaces, the political context in which these tragedies occur, and the need to organize on a local and national level. Or, as Michael Silverstein wrote in his recent paper discussing the future of OSHA, “political change must precede policy change.”

When I started Confined Space in March 2003, it was all about me – a way to vent, which I needed (thanks to our President and his cronies), a reason to write (or rant) — which I enjoy (and will miss) — and a way to keep in touch with friends and colleagues who I was afraid I’d lose track of.

But based on the mail I get from people, Confined Space became much more – a source of much-needed news about what’s happening in our workplaces and government agencies and a voice for those feeling politically frustrated. But most important – and most unexpected — it became a way for family members and loved ones of those lost to the workplace to find meaning in the death of their loved ones, a voice for their anger and a constructive direction to fight the system that took their loved ones away. And perhaps it even provided some ideas and tools that they could use to wage their struggle.


Mrs Tilton 04.15.09 at 6:05 am

Thomas, shouldn’t you be off teabagging people somewhere?


john b 04.15.09 at 8:57 am

Obama is, surely, going to peel off the mask at some point and reveal himself as the face of evil incarnate… isn’t he…?

Cos post-Clinton and Blair, I’m entirely freaked out by someone getting elected on a social-liberal centre-left platform and *actually implementing it*, rather than politicians merely competing to spread rumours about whose relatives are the most mentally ill.


Henry (not the famous one) 04.15.09 at 9:09 am

Let’s not forget the other. equally repellent point that Thomas is making: that death on the job is something we can only complain about, but never actually do anything to prevent, like bad weather. We certainly wouldn’t want to place any responsibility for workers smothered by the collapse of unshored ditches–a story that Jordan reported on what seemed like a weekly basis–on the employers who sent them in there. No, that was a “tragedy,” as the local news accounts told us; certainly not a crime.


Barry 04.15.09 at 11:21 am

Henry, good point. And ain’t it amazing how the GOP shuns science when it’s not making them money. As for Thomas, you just run along, boy – adults are talking.


Thomas 04.15.09 at 1:03 pm

Tilton, wonderful to see that in addition to politicized science the left is now also adopting homophobia. Apparently the left’s project over the last few years has been nothing but psychological projection.

Henry, do you imagine ergonomic regulations are meant to save lives? Why not suppose that they are–I’m sure that the evidence supporting that supposition is as strong as anything else on the record for those regulations.


Barry 04.15.09 at 1:45 pm

Thomas, Rovian big lie techniques are so last year. Then again, right-wing junk science must pay better than real science, and provides a living for those who find out that reality has a liberal bias.


Mrs Tilton 04.15.09 at 1:46 pm

Thomas @8,

Tilton, wonderful to see that in addition to politicized science the left is now also adopting homophobia

Though one understands why people like you find politicized science and homophobia wonderful, I assure you that, normal people having at long last driven the anticonstitutionalist Right from power, they are really not going to continue your beloved projects for you.


Thomas 04.15.09 at 1:52 pm

Tilton, really, you should be ashamed, and yet you’re back showing your face. The least you could do is apologize for the teabagging crack, yet now you have the gall to accuse me of the very thing you were guilty of today on this thread. What a joke.

Barry, wtf are you talking about?


Henry 04.15.09 at 1:53 pm

Thomas – I am not going to get into a serious argument with you, because I don’t think you are at all interested in a serious argument. As a lawyer who deals with employment issues, you know quite well that OSHA’s primary responsibility involves safety in the workplace. Ergo: trying to come up with rules which prevent people being killed in unsafe workplaces, having limbs sliced off in meatpacking plants and all of that. Trying to turn this into a conversation about ergonomics is, quite simply, trolling. Consider yourself warned.


Henry 04.15.09 at 1:55 pm

Actually – forget it. Don’t consider yourself warned. Consider yourself banned for a week.


glnelson 04.15.09 at 2:01 pm

Don’t know about you, Thomas, but for my own safety in the workplace (a coal mine or a busy factory warehouse, say)I’d want me and all my coworkers to be functioning at our best. So, let’s assume, just for a moment, that ergonomic design has something to do with “minimizing fatigue and discomfort”. Is a fatigued worker likely to react as quickly, think as clearly in an emergency? Who’s more likely to provide peak performance, the rested and comfortable worker or the tired, stressed one?
Hint: Don’t base your responses on what Jack Bauer can accomplish without sleep or food over a 24 hour period.


Barry 04.15.09 at 2:12 pm

Thanks, Henry – when somebody makes it clear from their first post that they’re trolling, forebearance becomes a sin. And I say that having been slammed myself.


john b 04.15.09 at 2:22 pm

@glnelson: see also the working conditions and hours prevalent in the US and UK investment banking industries in the 2000s, and their net impact on the greater good.


Uncle Kvetch 04.15.09 at 3:05 pm

Actually – forget it. Don’t consider yourself warned. Consider yourself banned for a week.

Perfectly understandable, but I need to point out that the “homophobia” charge was such a bravura display of trollery that I was hoping Thomas would stick around and entertain us some more.


Katherine 04.15.09 at 4:07 pm

Is it just possible that Thomas missed the reference to the tea parties and the amusing right wing habit of referring to teabagging in his taking of offence at Mrs Tilton’s comment?


Mrs Tilton 04.15.09 at 4:13 pm

Katherine @18,

that Thomas is unaware of the Right’s unintentionally funny “teabag” thing is as unlikely as that his offence was genuine.


Righteous Bubba 04.15.09 at 4:40 pm

that Thomas is unaware of the Right’s unintentionally funny “teabag” thing is as unlikely as that his offence was genuine.

But that it requires homosexual interaction is his own embarrassing invention, making the homophobia charge that much funnier.

Thomas! You may teabag the partner of your choice!


Henry 04.15.09 at 4:49 pm

In all fairness, since I have banned Thomas from responding for a week, people shouldn’t be making fun of him in his enforced absence. Don’t feed the trolls! Even when they have been turned invisible!


Katherine 04.15.09 at 6:54 pm

Well, I wasn’t trying to make fun of him – I thought he might actually have missed what she was saying. Since the entire tea-party movement seems to have missed the tea-bagging joke entirely, that was just possible. But apologies for feeding (invisible) troll.


Barry 04.16.09 at 12:53 am

Henry, can we just poke him with a sharp stick, through the bars of his cage?

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