Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Issue is Jobs, and Work

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I have been a fan of Mike Rowe's for years. You can't beat on hour spent with Dirty Jobs. When I found this bit on Instapundit this morning I was not surprised. Mike did something similar a few years ago (I linked to a shorter version then) in a video. Its long- about 20 minutes- but really for the first time somebody with at least a modicum of authority, and a healthy respect for what work is defends working and workers.

And I have been saying the same thing for years myself.

Most of the job and labor related government agencies are not about protecting jobs, but all about destroying manufacturing in this country. OSHA and EPA are the worst.

Lets face it; you take some college educated idiot who has most likely never worked a day in his life, much less in the industry he- or she- is now in charge of regulating, and now they have the authority to force a manufacturer to change any aspect of their process for any reason. Or, more importantly, no reason at all, other than the agencies say so.

For instance, in the early part of the video Mike talks about castrating lambs. He runs through the procedures as approved by PETA, SPCA and a few other alphabet soup outfits. He then sees how the process is actually done, and then compares it with the results of the process as approved by the folks who don't do it.

What a surprise; the approved method is a mess, compared to the way it is done, if done without interference.

OSHA has determined first and foremost that you, as an employee, are stupid, and will not do anything to protect yourself from being killed. Having spent 20 years in industry, I have met these people. They are out there. We don't need a million regulations to stop most people from harming themselves; we need one regulation allowing an employer to fire the idiots.

I have worked with folks who have reached into an operating machine, and damn near lost an arm because of it. Guys who finished welding two pieces of metal together, tried to grab the hot metal with a welding glove on, couldn't, and then removed the glove to grab the hot metal, and seriously burned their hands.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Have you ever read the warning labels on, say... a bottle of shampoo? Warnings like "Do not take internally"? Your first thought is: 'who would be that stupid?' That warning is there because somebody WAS that stupid, and either he or his heirs won a lawsuit over that stupidity. Its the same in manufacturing.

A new machine tool- a machine meant to process a raw material into a finished good, like a CNC Mill or Lathe- has probably a dozen or more labels; each one named after the lawsuit that caused it. In each case, somebody too damn stoopid for their own good did something that harmed them, and their reason for getting hurt was that nobody told them what they did was stoopid. And for some reason employers can't fire you for being stupid.

Instead they need to listen to some fool who never worked a day in their lives tell them how if they had done such and so, the incident wouldn't have happened, so so now they need to do such and so and the other thing as well. The employer smiles and nods (he really can't do anything else), implements the new procedure, and few a few weeks puts a disciplinary report in the "Permanent File" of any employee who violates the inane new rule, and then quietly goes back to letting intelligent folks get the job done.

The question is why? I see three options:

1) The Federal Government is so concerned about YOU that they will use the full power of the government to protect YOU:

2) The Federal Government wants to end manufacturing in this country:

3) A Federal bureaucrat sees a way to make sure next year he has more money to spend; more peons to boss around and a bigger salary, if he can prove this is a BIG issue.

Yeah I tend to lean toward 2 and 3 myself.

Lets hope we can change that come this November.

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