January 10, 2001
Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

FACOSH Makes Health and Safety Recommendation to the President-Elect

As CEO of the world’s largest employer, the new President will have an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate his leadership and stewardship in improving health, safety, and environmental management.

For the past decade, private sector leaders have shown unprecedented improvements in their occupational safety, health, and environmental management programs: injury/illness rates and toxic emissions are declining. However, the federal government has not shared fully in this progress: injury/illness rates remain stagnant and there is little data available to help determine the status of commitments to environmental stewardship.

Since the federal government sets mandates that employers must follow, it seems both logical and prudent to conclude that the federal government as an employer should serve as the gold standard in worker and environmental protection programs for the country’s private sector to emulate.
In addition, FACOSH said this is an opportunity for the Administration to forge positive working partnerships with unions representing federal workers. In the current tight and competitive labor market, these two core values would be excellent marketing tools for attracting and retaining a highly talented and diverse workforce.

FACOSH is made up of eight federal agency management representatives and eight labor representatives, including AFGE. The Council is chaired by Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Charles Jeffress, whose leadership has brought much-needed attention to the health and safety concerns of federal employees.

At the January 11th meeting, AFGE National President Bobby Harnage, who serves as Vice-Chair, thanked Mr. Jeffress for his tremendous support for FACOSH activities. “He shook new life into an almost moribund FACOSH, scheduling regular meetings, engaging us in thought-provoking discussions, and encouraging our work on reconstituted subcommittees,” Harnage said. In fact the recommendation resulted from the work of a FACOSH subcommittee, whose work Harnage said he hopes will continue.

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