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Written by:
Fred Rine, CEO of FDRsafety and former long-time Managing Director of Safety and Health at FedEx
Jim Stanley, President of FDRsafety and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA
Mike Taubitz, Senior Advisor to FDRsafety and former Global Safety Director for General Motors
Rose McMurray, Chief Transportation Advisor to FDRsafety and former Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration

Do the laws of math apply in Washington?

May 17th, 2013 posted by Jim Stanley

Jim Stanley

The recent news about the IRS has strangely, or maybe not so strangely, got me thinking about a high school algebra problem: if A=B and B=C, then does A=C?

I’ll leave it to you to solve the problem and will give you until the end of this blog post to do so.

Speaking of problems, it is interesting to read a recently released interpretation letter from Richard Fairfax, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. Fairfax, who retired after the letter was written, was responding to a union inquiry.

In the letter, Fairfax said that non-union employees can select anyone, including representatives of a union, to accompany an OSHA compliance officer during an inspection of their worksite. Some employers believe this is an unfair way to favor unions by giving them backdoor help in trying to organize a workplace.

Here’s what Fairfax said, in part:

“The OSH Act authorizes participation in the walk-around portion of an OSHA inspection by ‘a representative authorized by [the employer's] employees.’ 29 U.S.C. § 657(e). Therefore, a person affiliated with a union without a collective bargaining agreement or with a community representative can act on behalf of employees as a walk-around representative so long as the individual has been authorized by the employees to serve as their representative.”

This marks a major departure in procedures for OSHA inspections and litigation seems likely from unhappy non-union employers, some of whom already believe that OSHA favors union workplaces when it comes to inspections.

As I said at the start, current events draw the mind in interesting directions.

So what did you come up with when you did the math?


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