Desuetude--Law Nonenforcement--Hurts People

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DESUETUDE OF OSHA LAW ENFORCEMENT IN FLORIDA -- ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD’s Construction Site in St. Johns County -- These Workers Are at Risk Today!

I called OSHA in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday to report unsafe conditions at a construction site next to St. Augustine High School. OSHA’s duty officer said OSHA was sending an inspector. Today, the construction site was still unsafe. Note the worker below the giant piece of earthmoving equipment. Note the lack of a box to protect the workers in the deep trench. When workers die in trench collapses, they die horrible painful deaths. Their insides are squeezed out at both ends.

Typically, OSHA fines are trivial.

This is an example of “desuetude” – nonenforcement of worker protection laws, about which I have been speaking out since the 1980s. Ever since the reign of ruin of President Ronald Wilson Reagan, the Department of Labor has been toothless, all hat and no cattle, refusing to protect American workers.

We pay OSHA inspectors to protect workers. Apparently they are uninspired and won’t do their jobs. The DOL Inspector General needs to investigate why OSHA so often refuses to do its job, especially in those parts of the country where employers formerly owned their employees. In my experience, USDOL offices in the Atlanta and Dallas regions are ineffectual and won’t enforce the law, whether whistleblower protection, occupational safety and health, or other subjects. Competent DOL employees are punished and transferred. Incompetents often rise to the very top of the heap.

Ironically the property in quo was the site of a 3000-4000 year old Native American Indian indigenous village. City of St. Augustine Commissioners let the speculator, ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD, win approval without proper completion of archaeological tests. The then-Acting Chair of the Anthropology Department of the University of Florida thought the site needed further study, based upon ESI’s incomplete Phase I study report. Our City Archaeologist was never provided the archaeological report by MARK KNIGHT, City Planning and Zoning Director. Our State Archaeologist, Ryan Wheeler, was ineffectual. This land should have been part of a St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway, instead of a crime scene.

First the City of St. Augustine let speculator ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD destroy an Indian village for condos (now to be public housing) and a strip mall. They killed our history and a beautiful natural spot with serpentine man-made hills intertwined with creeks. They’ve plugged up Red House Branch with siltation, destroying the property of nearby landowners and risking the lives of everyone who ever rides on Lewis Speedway during rainfalls when flooding now regularly occurs (including high school students who are new drivers).

Then after the City of St. Augustine let us down, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration appears to have fiddled while workers were in danger. OSHA’s Jacksonville office might have killed a worker today by not enforcing the law yesterday.

Only luck saved workers from the conditions seen in these photographs.

Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Go ahead, make my day.

Note to ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBRD & Co: If you violate workers’ rights to safe workplaces, you never know when you will be caught, perhaps even indicted, now that we have a Commander-in-Chief who cares about people.

Meanwhile, I hereby call upon the Secretary of Labor to show up at construction sites and show OSHA inspectors how to do their job, without fear or favor of mendacious speculators like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and his heinous henchmen.

What do you reckon?


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