Any job that involves breaking up rock or concrete or brick can potentially expose workers to dangerous silica dust, and last year it looked like the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was about to put stricter controls in place to limit this health hazard.
But for almost a year, the proposed regulations have been stalled at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Worker safety advocates are growing increasingly frustrated. They say instead of having a public debate, officials are meeting behind closed doors with industry stakeholders who want to stop new rules.Now, I don't know what to make of the claims themselves. Perhaps the industry is correct--the real problem isn't the current exposure levels, but failure to enforce those levels. Perhaps those pushing for stricter standards are correct. My general inclination is to be skeptical of leftist do-gooders, but they may well be right, that lowering exposure levels will substantially reduce silicosis injuries and death. But would you have guessed that a guy who ran for president as a progressive, out to save the little guys from big corporations, would be carrying their water?
I really wish that Democrats actually believed in their own propaganda enough to challenge Obama in the primaries. But it is apparent that they really do not. All this talk about corporations abusing workers and the need for more government regulation is just hooey to get votes--not something that they actually believe.