During our holiday hiatus, the Washington Post published an article looking back at OSHA during the Bush years. R. Jeffrey Smith writes:

[During the Bush administration], political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of workplace health regulations, slow-rolled others, and altered the reach of its warnings and rules in response to industry pressure.

The result is a legacy of unregulation common to several health-protection agencies under Bush: From 2001 to the end of 2007, OSHA officials issued 86 percent fewer rules or regulations termed economically significant by the Office of Management and Budget than their counterparts did during a similar period in President Bill Clinton’s tenure, according to White House lists.

The administration scrapped or delayed regulations on tuberculosis, crystalline silica, ionizing radiation, and ergonomics – and presided over a declining field staff while finding money in the budget for a $112-an-hour consultant to help “shift OSHA from a culture of inspections to less confrontational ‘compliance assistance.’” Our regular readers know just how dangerous a culture of “compliance assistance” can be.

In other news:

New York Times: Over the last three years, nine members of the Fourth Brigade Combat Team of Fort Carson, Colorado have killed someone or been charged with killing someone after returning from Iraq.

The Scientist: Scientists studying dust particles from Iraq have identified dozens of isolates, including bacteria and fungi, in an attempt to learn more about why more than two-thirds of soldiers returning from Iraq experience at least one occurrence of respiratory illness (via Effect Measure).

Newsday: The Manhattan District Attorney has charged contractor William Moretti with second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide related to the crane collapse that killed seven people in New York last March.

Sydney Morning Herald: Thousands of Australian sailors may have been exposed to asbestos because the Navy has continued to use parts containing asbestos, even though their use has been prohibited since the end of 2003.

NIOSH: When used in conjunction with seatbelts, Roll-Over Protective Structures in tractors can help prevent deaths and disabilities in tractor rollovers – the leading cause of occupational agricultural deaths in the U.S.

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