Loud guns

To the Editor:

In 2012 a Bayonne company, the Henry Repeating Arms Company, a nationally renowned rifle company, was placed in the OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In July of this year the same company was fined $45,000 for continuing to expose its employees to hazardous noise levels. The Director of the OSHA Area Office said that the company’s “callous attitude toward hearing protection is unconscionable…”
I wouldn’t be shocked at such unsafe workplace conditions nor this employer’s blatant disregard for the well being of its employees had these events occurred in 1916. However it is 2016. One would think this type of sweatshop-like conditions and employer indifference to worker safety would no longer exist. Yet it does—in one of the top long-gun manufacturers in the nation—despite laws and/or regulations in force to ensure safety in the workplace.
The Henry Repeating Arms Company is not a mom and pop operation. One would think such an enterprise would be a leader in ensuring workplace safety and as such a model for others in its industry. Obviously, it’s not.
Ironically, the same day these latest fines imposed on the Henry Repeating Arms Company were reported in the local news, a candidate for the Presidency of the United States was proposing a moratorium on any new regulations for businesses as well as a review of existing laws/regulations that are “impediments” to businesses.
These two very different examples of push back against laws/regulations imposed on businesses represent alternative ways to deal with “impediments” to business: one is to invest in politicians for the preferred outcome, and the other is to ignore the law and bear the manageable fines. In either case it is understood to be a cost of doing business, and one that is ultimately passed on to the consumer.


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