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MSHA News Release No. 95-021
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: (703) 235-1452

June 14, 1995

LABOR DEPT. DENOUNCES ATTEMPT TO GUT SAFETY AND HEALTH AGENCIES

Department of Labor officials today denounced Representative Cass Ballenger's (R-NC) proposed legislation to gut the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and repeal the Mine Safety and Health Administration by merging the two.

"This is not reform, this is retreat," said Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich. "If Congress enacts this legislation, it will be reneging on the promise it made twenty-five years ago to America's workers: the right to a safe and healthy workplace."

Ballenger, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protection, introduced the legislation today.

"Under the Ballenger bill, the worst employers would be given the same treatment as the best employers," said Joseph A. Dear, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "There must be a distinction between employers who place a high priority on protecting their workers and those who treat them as expendable."

The legislation would severely hamper OSHA's ability "to protect workers by:

"America's miners deserve the best on-the-job protection we can give them," said Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Mining is a unique and dangerous industry which has led to disabling injuries, chronic lung disease, and death. Repealing the statute would be a serious blow to workers' safety and health."

By repealing the statute and merging the agency with OSHA, the legislation would: