I don’t typically like to discuss politics, but what the heck. This story is related to safety, so let’s go for it. A Fox News reporter, Lawrence Jones, went to the Southern border to cover the border immigration issue. He was issued a bulletproof vest by Border Patrol and instructed that they could not guarantee his safety without it.
AOC and other freshman Democrats blasted Mr. Jones for wearing protection at the direction of the border patrol. Stating that he was making a bigger issue than need be. He was wearing too little protection in the eyes of OSHA. Regardless of where you stand on the subject, there is a bigger problem with AOC’s mocking of Mr. Jones. That is the fact that she hates employee safety.
Fox News, CNN, and other agencies are employers bound by the rules of OSHA. They are required to perform a hazard analysis to determine threats to the health and safety of their employees. In this case, Border Patrol (the multi-site employer) concluded that lead bullets were a flying debris hazard which could damage eyes, skin, and potentially internal organs.
Being shot is an Immediate Danger to Life and Health (IDLH) according to OSHA and rational people everywhere. The bulletproof vest is the last ditch effort to protect the employee. It is PPE a.k.a. Personal protective equipment. It is required to be issued by the employer once the hazard is identified, and engineering and administrative controls have been exhausted.
The funny thing is that with bullets whizzing by, a helmet and safety glasses should also be issued. Nixon fought hard to establish OSHA, and while I despise how OSHA goes about enforcement, I do believe that the safety regulations are good and well for everyone involved. But why do AOC and other freshman Democrats hate OSHA and safety standards?
It may have something to do with popularity, stirring the pot and not taking responsibility for yourself more than with the actual issues at hand. Moreso I believe it is merely a lack of knowledge. Making statements can be fun and games, but making statements at the expense of others is a childish fool’s game. And it is one that we as risk managers should not participate in. Regardless of where you stand on political issues you must never compromise your employees’ safety and health to make a point. If you want to do it with your own life then, by all means, go right ahead, but then we will have to question your leadership example. We must always take efforts to protect our employees.
Be wise about your safety programs, the steps you must go thru to implement them, and then, by all means, enforce the policies. It’s not your reputation; it’s your employees’ lives.