SBA Official Changes Tune on OSHA Noise Initiative; Says His Office Was 'Unable to Evaluate' Possible Safety Benefits

by Ben Somberg

April 29, 2011

We noted earlier this month that a U.S. Small Business Administration official had claimed that the danger of workplace noise was solved just as well with earplugs as it is with reducing the noise at its source -- despite extensive research to the contrary ("Presidential Appointee at SBA Maligns OSHA's Industrial Noise Proposal; Claims Ear Plugs 'Solve' the Problem").

The official, Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the SBA, has since given a slightly different line. From BNA's Occupational Safety and Health Reporter (4/28):

We strongly support regulations that protect worker safety and health," Sargeant said. "But with regard to the noise rule, we were unable to evaluate whether this proposal was necessary, as a matter of safety, or whether it was economically feasible.

If SBA has indeed not evaluated the safety necessity, it's troubling that Sargeant had previously made such a strident claim about the safety issue being "solved" by earplugs. Sargeant has no obligation to be an expert on the safety benefits of noise controls; he could simply say, as he has, that he is concerned about the costs. Going further and demeaning the safety benefits as nonexistent -- and then later admitting his office was "unable to evaluate" them -- is not helpful.
 

Be the first to comment on this entry.
We ask for your email address so that we may follow up with you, ask you to clarify your comment in some way, or perhaps alert you to someone else's response. Only the name you supply and your comment will be displayed on the site to the public. Our blog is a forum for the exchange of ideas, and we hope to foster intelligent, interesting and respectful discussion. We do not apply an ideological screen, however, we reserve the right to remove blog posts we deem inappropriate for any reason, but particularly for language that we deem to be in the nature of a personal attack or otherwise offensive. If we remove a comment you've posted, and you want to know why, ask us (info@progressivereform.org) and we will tell you. If you see a post you regard as offensive, please let us know.

Also from Ben Somberg

Short Bio needs to be uploaded.

Simpler Government, or Secret and Unaccountable Government?

Somberg | Apr 04, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Who Will Run the EPA?

Somberg | Apr 01, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Mancini "Leads" OIRA as Deputy Administrator

Somberg | Mar 13, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

There is Now No OIRA Administrator

Somberg | Mar 11, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Robert Glicksman Testifies in House Hearing on Regulatory Policy

Somberg | Feb 28, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

The Center for Progressive Reform

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015