April 28 marked Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to remember and honor those who have died on the job. Workers’ Memorial Day also serves as a reminder of how much progress has been made in protecting Americans at work since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) and how much work remains to ensure all Americans are safe at work.
Cass Sunstein, former Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator, recently penned an article, "OIRA: Myths and Realities," which purports to explain what OIRA really does when it reviews proposed and final rules submitted by agencies under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. Sunstein's claims differ greatly from what agencies and public interest advocates say happens behind closed doors at OIRA.
Each year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is supposed to publish two agendas of planned rules and at least one regulatory plan summarizing economically significant rulemakings likely to move forward in the near future. In 2012, the Obama administration skipped the spring agenda entirely and did not publish the fall agenda until December, likely because of the elections. The plan that finally emerged contains some positive measures but does not go far enough to significantly advance consumer, workplace safety, or environmental protections.