We recently were paid a visit from our ``friends'' at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a random inspection. Upon completing a preliminary review of our facility they commented that we had an exceptionally well-maintained facility with very few safety concerns. In addition, they thought we might be eligible to take part in their ``Star Program,'' which among other things, claims to help companies ``build a cooperative, consultative relationship with OSHA.''
The inspectors indicated that there were only two other Kansas employers that had ever been recommended for this program and that we might be the next.
The following day they completed a plant tour, reviewed our written procedures and conducted private interviews with our employees. They noted that our employees were pleased with our company and the written safety programs were familiar to them. The inspectors were pleased with this. They indicated that we had just passed a very successful enforcement inspection and were anxious to tell their boss of their inspection and a potential candidate for OSHA's Star Program.
Obviously we were quite proud of our plant and our employees. Two weeks later we received their report and notice that we were being fined $1,000.
The money in this country, which our government and people depend on, is generated by businesses like ours. Without them there are no personal income, business or sales taxes to collect. It should not be government's goal to put businesses out of business. It should be government's goal to assist business, which in turn allows our citizens to benefit and prosper.
Unfortunately, when our government established OSHA—being mostly attorneys—it decided OSHA should take a Gestapo approach to safety and support itself by issuing citations and collecting fines. The more laws you create, the more citations you write —the more attorneys you need.
It's about time our government changed OSHA so it can be called on for help without fear of being fined or otherwise penalized. Its ability to issue fines needs to be severely restricted or eliminated.
Its purpose needs to change so they don't view themselves as cops but instead teachers. We are not suggesting that we add something to OSHA. Just change it and make it useful. If not, get rid of it.
Spears Caney Inc.
Spears Manufacturing Co.