In May 2010, Tom Shanahan, NRCA's associate executive director of
risk management, and I had the opportunity to meet with senior
staff members of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA). We met in the office of David Michaels, the head of the
agency, who had been called out of town to attend to revenue
opportunities for OSHA in the Gulf of Mexico. Tom and I were left
unattended in Michaels' office and had the chance to review his
There, we found titles that included The Dark Sun, The
Politics of Cancer, Death in the Workplace and Michaels'
book, Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science
Threatens Your Health.
We had the feeling this wasn't going to be a fun meeting, and
Michaels' staff didn't disappoint.
The subject was residential fall protection, and we tried to
make the case that not only do slide guards work but they are used.
And, we said, requiring more burdensome methods of fall protection
would only make it more likely unprofessional contractors would do
nothing. Most falls, data suggest, occur when no fall protection
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