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April 14, 2009

Comments

Elections matter because workers who would have died under the old regime will now live.

It is, in my admittedly limited experience, a consistency that good critics and good leaders are rarely the same people.

Perhaps, but good critics who know exactly what's wrong with the system and what needs to happen can make really good reformers - people who perhaps shouldn't be in charge too long, but who can make substantive change happen while they are.

It is, in my admittedly limited experience, a consistency that good critics and good leaders are rarely the same people.

Can't be worse than people who either don't give a crap, or are openly hostile to the ends they are supposed to be working for.

O. M. G.

This is real change. Thank you, everyone who urged Obama to make this appointment, and congratulations to Jordan Barab.

Great to hear.

I'm pretty certain the miners in Crandall Canyon would have preferred that a different bunch had been in charge in '07.

According to OSHA, the national rate of fatal work injuries during the Clinton years was 4.78 per 100,000 workers per year. During the first seven G W Bush years the rate was 4.01; a 16% decrease. The rate was 3.7 per 100,000 workers in 2007, the last year for which statistics are available.

ref; http://stats.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0006.pdf

It's so wonderful that Jordan Barab will improve on the horrid Bush years - just as Bush was an improvement on the horrid Clinton years. In fact, let's have no fatal work accidents.

"http://stats.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0006.pdf"

Your link doesn't support your statement. There are no such statistics in it. It's a set of stats on victims of crimes.

Perhaps you had some other cite in mind, and accidentally copied the wrong one. If so, please give the correct cite, so we can follow along. Thanks.

According to OSHA, the national rate of fatal work injuries during the Clinton years was 4.78 per 100,000 workers per year. During the first seven G W Bush years the rate was 4.01; a 16% decrease. The rate was 3.7 per 100,000 workers in 2007, the last year for which statistics are available.

Assuming this is true, it won't tell us anything about the comparative effectiveness of these administrations when it came to workplace safety. Over time, the mix of jobs in the economy changes. Different job types have different injury rates. Lawyers have a much lower workplace injury rate than machinists or chemical plant workers. Automation and globalization have reduced the fraction of American jobs that are likely to be particularly dangerous (manufacturing) while increasing the fraction of American jobs likely to be less dangerous (i.e., service jobs). Unless you control for these trends in your analysis, you can't infer much about comparative effectiveness.

"Assuming this is true, it won't tell us anything about the comparative effectiveness of these administrations when it came to workplace safety. ... Unless you control for these trends in your analysis, you can't infer much about comparative effectiveness."

Yet, the following statements can be made on this thread:

Revere at Effect Measure: "The bottom line here is that workers who would have died under the old regime will now live."

Nell: "O. M. G. This is real change."

Trollhattan: "Great to hear. I'm pretty certain the miners in Crandall Canyon would have preferred that a different bunch had been in charge in '07."


.

d'd'd'dave: Nice of you to smooth out those numbers into eight-year averages for us, so that we wouldn't be troubled by the knowledge that the decline in workplace fatality rates over Clinton's administration (from 5.3% to 4.3%) was larger than the decline over Bush's (from 4.3% to 3.7%).

Gary

You linked to :"http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2009/pdf/StatisticalOverview.pdf"

But I said link to:
"http://stats.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0006.pdf"

dave, I'm pretty sure that Nell and Trollhatten did not make a specific statistical argument, so I don't see how my comment is relevant to what they wrote. You, however, did make such an argument.

Judging by the rather elementary mistake you made and by the non-responsiveness of your last comment, I'm going to assume that you're just not smart enough to seriously engage with on issues involving numbers.

Hogan

LOL. So we're looking for a large decline rather than just a low number of fatal injuries?

I'm guessing US Grant presided over the greatest decline in workplace fatalities in US History - with the civil war ending during his term. Or maybe Truman with WW2 ending.

This is sort of like Obama saying he'll cut Bush's deficit in half by the end of his term when in fact the deficit in that year will be larger than all of Bush's deficits (except for the $1 trillion gusher in the last two months of his reign).

Turbulence

You made the argument that one cannot tell whether one administration is better than another in this area because it is very complex and the numbers don't necessarily reveal everything easily.

Yet Nell, Trollhattan, Hilzoy, and Revere are convinced that Jordan Barab will be better. Nell and Trollhattan are probably basing their opinion not even on numbers but upon the say so of Hilzoy. Hilzoy appears to be doing it based on her respect for the writer of Confined Space - and some anecdotal examples the writer of Confined Space has given.

I know that when I supply anecdotal evidence on this site readers here brush it aside and ask for statistics. In this post, I have offered statistics that suggest the Bush years were, if not perfect, at least an improvement on what went before, and that is brushed aside.

What kind of evidence is actually enough for you folks?

Is this where I complain to Eric or another moderator that I have made substantive points and turbulence is just trolling nonsense back to be disruptive?

Here is a sheep who blindly follows Gary Farber (April 14, 2009 at 05:15 PM) off a cliff without checking for himself:

Turbulence:
//Judging by the rather elementary mistake you made and by the non-responsiveness of your last comment, I'm going to assume that you're just not smart enough to seriously engage with on issues involving numbers.//

Dear moderator: I submit this as additional evidence that your readers troll mindlessly and reflexively at anything that may seem to oppose their point of view.

"http://stats.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0006.pdf"

Stupid cut and paste; thanks for noting that I'd gotten the link wrong.

However, the first chart, at your link, Fatal Workplace Injuries, 1992-2007, clearly shows said injuries declining through the entire Clinton presidency, and then rising again in 2002, 2003, and 2004, with 2005 still higher than 2002 and 2003, and peaking in 2006.

Moreover, the stats are for the most frequent causes of "workplace injury":
Highway incidents
Homicides
Falls
Exposure to
harmful substances or
environments
Contact with
objects and equipment
Fires and explosions

I think it's reasonable to exclude homicide and highway incidents from a discussion of OSHA efficiency/quality, and focus on the latter injuries. Do you disagree?

I'd also note the steady and signicant climb in fatal occupational injuries in the private mining industry, 2003–07. Do you think mining inherently became more dangerous during that period, or to what would you attribute the increased number of deaths?

"Is this where I complain to Eric or another moderator that I have made substantive points and turbulence is just trolling nonsense back to be disruptive?"

You could complain if Turbulence was violating the rules:

Be reasonably civil. [...] Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.

It seems to me that you'd have a tough case demonstrating that that's what Turbulence has done here.

"I submit this as additional evidence that your readers troll mindlessly"

You don't seem to understand what "trolling" means. Being responsive and disagreeing with someone is not trolling. Repeatedly writing non-responsive stuff intended purely to annoy, on the other hand, is trolling.

Try here for more elucidation.

"and some anecdotal examples the writer of Confined Space has given."

Seems to be thousands of posts, actually. I'm not previously familiar with the blog, and am no expert on OSHA, so I'll not have much further to contribute on the topic, dismissing the entire blog as "anecdotal" doesn't seem to be based, in your case, on any greater study or knowledge of that blog or blogger.

"Dear moderator: I submit this as additional evidence that your readers troll mindlessly and reflexively at anything that may seem to oppose their point of view."

Also: you're an ObWi reader.

There's no such thing as "your readers" here in any unitary sense. People disagree. You disagree. If you want to complain about someone, complain about someone (or someones), but you have to specify individuals.

This should be obvious -- the alternatives would be believing in a paranoid fantasy that everyone who might comment on this blog is in a conspiracy against you, or that you're deeply stupid -- so if we exclude those two possibilities, it looks rather like you're simply making up a stupid complaint to be obnoxious.

Perhaps there's an alternative I'm not seeing, though.

Gary,

I took my data from the second chart which is an aggregation of all types of fatal workplace injuries. I did not parse the data further when I made my original comment.

Perhaps OSHA didn't have anything to do with the decrease in workplace homicides but Bush certainly did. Increasing numbers of formerly desperate people found new hope during the Bush years. I would expect that trend to reverse now that Obama is in the white house.

But seriously, when you throw out homicides and vehicle accidents the trend doesn't look good. One could certainly argue that DOT has more influence over vehicle deaths and ATF has more influence over homicides, so let's throw them out. One can also argue that OSHA had little influence over workplaces where fatal injuries did occur, so let's throw them out too. I suggest we evaluate OSHA efficiency/quality by looking ONLY at workplaces where OSHA had adequate influence Since OSHA is not in favor of any workplace injuries it would not be fair to include any of them when evaluating OSHA.

Is this where I complain to Eric or another moderator that I have made substantive points and turbulence is just trolling nonsense back to be disruptive?

Actually, no, you should write 'the kitten' off list and lay out your complaint. You might want to give examples and explain why you find they violate posting rules. Something like this
===
Dear kitty,
I'm relatively sure that the following:

"Here is a sheep who blindly follows Gary Farber (April 14, 2009 at 05:15 PM) off a cliff without checking for himself:"

is uncivil and designed more to disrupt conversation than add to it. Looking at the writer's previous 'contributions' and his tendency to misrepresent, I don't believe he has a lot to offer and if it were me, I would have banned him when he first returned to the blog sporting a new identity.

As always, I appreciate the work that you do in keeping the blog running. Many thanks.
===

That's just a short example, you probably would want to add other examples of the poster attacking others, misrepresenting himself or doing similar things along with links. HTH

Wait a second, isn't this a case of a "lobbyist" leading the agency he was lobbying? If it was the case for Bill Corr or Cecilia Munoz (both were allowed, with waivers), why not for Jordan Barab?

**I** think there should be a difference between a genuine advocate (and not just a spokesperson for an astroturf group) and a corporate lobbyist, but as the rule is now, wouldn't Mr Barab need yet another waiver?

"...but as the rule is now, wouldn't Mr Barab need yet another waiver?"

Was Barab, in fact, a registered lobbyist? You have to be paid by someone, and registered with the government, in accord with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, to be an actual lobbyist. Just having opinions and a blog, or trying to buttonhole members of Congress, isn't sufficient.

Even if during his long service as the AFSCME Health & Safety director Jordan Barab had been a 'lobbyist' (which, as Gary points out above, he probably wasn't), these last two years as a Congressional committee staffer would have more than fulfilled the requirement of a non-lobbyist period to wipe out the 'revolving door' effect.

[And that's not even addressing the several scummy waivers that the Obama people have granted to some appointees whose prior employment violated both the spirit and letter of the administration's new requirements, while denying waivers to others where only the ridiculous letter was broken (e.g. Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch).]

Perhaps OSHA didn't have anything to do with the decrease in workplace homicides but Bush certainly did.

Dude, WTF are you talking about?

Meanwhile, check this.

Does anyone believe that someone who has never actually had to worry about complying with 29 Code of Federal Regulations will have a limited impact on the office. It takes years for OSHA to propogate new regulations (See workplace chemical hazard regulations).

Jordan Barab will probably be long gone before any actions taken today could have any impact.

Besides, with the coming recession, workplace deaths (or injuries) will be going today due to heavy industries closing down.

And last, homicides and traffic accidents have been the leading cause of workplace deaths for years. Employers should be responsible for designing their processes to lower the rate of deaths from both.

I'm guessing US Grant presided over the greatest decline in workplace fatalities in US History - with the civil war ending during his term. Or maybe Truman with WW2 ending.

Or Bush after the 9/11 deaths in New York and DC, which were, you know, actual workplace fatalities.

Oh wait . . .

Increasing numbers of formerly desperate people found new hope during the Bush years.

Huh. I must have missed that chart.

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