Tag Archives: OSHA

CEI Podcast for May 26, 2011: President Obama Proposes Deregulation

Have a listen here.

Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar, announced today that the administration intends to repeal regulations from 30 different agencies. CEI Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray thinks this is a good step, though a small one. He estimates today’s proposal would save about $1.5 billion, which is one-tenth of one percent of the $1.75 trillion total burden of federal regulation.


Regulation of the Day 151: Water Heaters

The EPA recommends setting your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But OSHA recommends setting it to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Why the difference?

“If you turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit; you will cut your water-heating costs by 6-10 percent,” says EPA. Doing so also uses less energy.

But 120 degrees is not hot enough to kill the Legionella pneumophila bacteria. Legionnaire’s disease causes both flu-like and pneumonia-like symptoms. The disease is most often caught by inhaling the spiral-shaped bacteria via water mist, such as in the shower or near a lake or stream. That’s why OSHA recommends setting your water heater hot enough to kill the bacterium – 140 degrees.

Legionnaire’s disease got its name when the Pennsylvania American Legion celebrated America’s 1976 bicentennial at a hotel with contaminated water. More than 200 people were treated for pneumonia. 34 died. The newly discovered Legionella pneumophila bacteria turned out to be the cause. That and other bacteria are why OSHA recommends 140 degrees.

EPA and OSHA are free to publish all the recommendations they want. But hopefully they won’t impose one standard or other on the entire country. One is expensive; the other would kill people.

Fortunately, you are still free to set your water heater how you choose. If you place a high value on saving money and energy, and you have your health, 120 degrees is the way to go. But if you are elderly or infirm, or you have children in your household, 140 degrees is probably better for you. When it comes to your water heater, you know best. Hopefully OSHA and EPA will continue to recognize that.

(via Sam Kazman)

Friday Regulation Roundup

Some of the stranger governmental goings-on I dug up over the week:

-The federal government is spending $73m this year on the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program.

-The federal government has 5,647 words of formaldehyde regulations for the workplace.

-The federal government has an Arthritis Advisory Committee. They’re meeting on May 12 if you care to attend.

-Government spends $2,000,000 on phone lines for a town of 80 people, some of whom already own satellite dishes.

OSHA considers sand a poison because it contains silica.

-Vermont to spend $150,000 to build a tunnel for salamanders to cross a road safely.

-The federal government has a Highbush Blueberry Council.

-A fish hatchery in South Dakota is getting $20,000 in stimulus money for new light fixtures.

-In Virginia, it is illegal in many instances to turn on your air conditioning before May 1. Cato’s Tom Firey has more.

EPA says that de-icing fluid for windshields is an environmental hazard. Worried airline pilots say the EPA is the real safety hazard.

-It is illegal in Kentucky for anyone under 18 to play pool without photo ID and written parental consent.

Regulation of the Day 81: Porn

Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok points to a proposed rule in California that would reclassify adult film actors as being subject to certain employment regulations. The unintended consequences are potentially fatal:

California’s anti-discrimination laws prohibit requiring an HIV test as a condition of employment; therefore the adult film industry’s current testing process, in which every performer is tested for HIV monthly, would be illegal. Nor would adult film producers be allowed to “discriminate” by refusing employment to HIV-positive performers. As a result, untested and HIV-positive performers would be able to work in the industry, raising the risks of HIV outbreaks–particularly since condom breakage or slippage can occur.

Sounds like regulators and activists need to think that one through a little more carefully.

Regulation of the Day 70: Combustible Dust

combustible dust

OSHA has published a proposed rule to regulate one of the greatest threats to mankind: combustible dust.

It is defined as “all combustible particulate solids of any size, shape, or chemical composition that could present a fire or deflagration hazard when suspended in air or other oxidizing medium.”

Maybe it speaks well of workplace safety if OSHA has made combustible dust one of its highest priorities.

A pessimist might counter that OSHA, having regulated everything else, has been reduced to regulating obscurities in its never-ending search for something to do, and for someone to command.