The Occupatinal Safety and Health Administration has found it's easier to ignore regulations than get rid of them, and even President Carter is confused.
Last December, OSHA announced an ambitious plan to take 1,100 "nitpicking and obsolete" regulations off the books, such as one specifying how high off the floor fire extinguishers had to be hung.
During a political swing in Texas in June, Carter, attacking excessive federal regulation, pointed to the OSHA action with pride. "In one day last year, 1,100 different regulations were wiped off the books," he told a crowd in Beaumont.
But National Journal, the weekly on politics and government, reports in its latest issue that the regulations are still on the books.
"Some unions told us these regulations were important protections," a safety spokesman said. "They felt their situations in factories might be worse without them."
A safety spokesman said the organization still intends to get rid of the regulations, but probably not all 1,100 originally intended for excision. He would not say when the regulations would be deleted, only that the project is a "top priority."
He said officials must examine comments from labor unions and industry before deciding which regulations can go. In the meantime, inspectors will not enforce most of the 1,100 regulations. "The employer won't be cited," the spokesman said. "He won't be fined or get a written notice. It'll just be pointed put to him that he violated the standard."
The rules that were to be banished were obsolete, designed to protect personal property, duplicated the regulations of other federal agencies, or were meant only to promote comfort and convenience.
Labor Secretary Ray Marshall annoucned the agency's intention to take the regulations off the books at a December press conference.
"In working with (OSHA adminstrator) Eula Binham and her staff on removing these 1,100 nitpicking provisions," Marshall had said, "I discovered that the system makes it much easier for the government to promulgate new regulations than to get rid of outmoded or ineffective ones. Things are not impossible, however. Our efforts today indicate that with enough determination and creativity it is possible to beat the system."