Washington Post editorial, “The right balance on business regulations“:
On Wednesday came the first concrete result of the president’s new emphasis: withdrawal of a proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that would have required businesses to protect workers from shop-floor noise by changing schedules or installing new equipment rather than by passing out earplugs, as current rules require. Strongly backed by organized labor, the proposed rule had triggered loud business protests, especially from manufacturers, who said it would cost billions and destroy jobs. Now it will be progressives’ turn to howl.
Our emphasis. Associated Press, “Feds drop plan to change workplace noise standards“:
OSHA spokeswoman Diana Petterson said the noise standards decision was “completely unrelated” to Obama’s order. The proposal did not involve issuing a new rule, but reinterpreting an existing rule.
The Post comments after OSHA pulled its noise plan, “Now it will be progressives’ turn to howl.” While it’s a safe prediction that “progressives” will howl just on general principle, on the OSHA interpretation they’ve been quiet. We looked for expressions of outrage from organized labor and the usual suspects who supported OSHA’s noise plan, and nothing.
Our guess is that the noise plan was so unworkable and business’ objections so persuasive, even the activists expected it to be pulled.
P.S. OSHA Administrator David Michaels will address the American Bakers Association next week. We’ll be interested to see his responses to questions about the noise rule and President Obama’s regulatory instructions.