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We no longer can rely on our government

DEAR EDITOR:

I spent nearly 47 years in occupational safety, security and health, 32 within the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Now in my 15th year as a private consultant, I find myself consulting on a divided, controversial subject. My consultation often ends in addressing political standings, not injury and illness risk factors, which is what those in my position rely on.

Don’t misunderstand. Working with the agency always brought some controversy, but not nearly like today.

The most debate today is COVID-19 and its workplace impact, and most recently, the agency’s Emergency Temporary Standard, vaccine or test mandates.

Previously, when a “new risk of injury or illness” was identified and a subsequent law / standard was introduced, mandate means of abatement and risk reduction provisions, I relied on supporting facts that usually were accepted. Discussion eventually would end, suggesting / informing the need for compliance. Not so with the aforementioned OSHA COVID-19 ETS. Why?

I usually make efforts to steer away from politics, but it is obvious to me that interference to accepting the facts and accepting the positive impact such action can have is supported by political standings / affiliation.

When COVID-19 was first identified, fear of its spread worldwide was declared based on its transmission capabilities and severity. When cases were reported in the U.S., fear grew, and experts warned about a possible pandemic.

During that first U.S. reported case the “COVID-19 misinformation machine” emerged. First, facts were withheld; then facts were attacked as false. This was by elected officials and leaders on whom we rely to protect and serve. “It is just like the flu” and “We have it under control” came from our Capitol.

Now, we’ve surpassed 750,000 U.S. COVID-19-related deaths, but even that figure is not believed by all. We now have a vaccine to reduce the spread, symptoms and save lives, but even that is not accepted.

Our political alignment has created mistrust and nonsupport for governmental agencies in place to ensure health and safety — agencies with track records of accomplishments on which we’ve relied for decades. Today, reliance and support has been removed.

Now, as I consult, I’m often attacked personally, not associated with laws or facts or compliance. It is often due to my political affiliation.

How sad that we have taken every subject matter and applied politics. I believe when dealing with safety and health, either in the workplace or our personal lives, one must take an “apolitical” position. Do your research, check out the facts. Sadly, we no longer can rely on elected officials to do such.

God Bless America.

JOHN P. LESEGANICH SR.

Canfiel

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