The Legislature in Texas has been that in a reluctant state, we may run into a situation where there can be a very thorny dispute over whether the standards have been implemented. You get largely paper standards: The difference between that and my approach is that we would be getting past the paperwork to get the effect. My proposal is a standard of results,” he said. Eckhardt has called on President Johnson, and Eckhardt’s administrative assistant, Bob Cochran, says that at the staff level Eckhardt’s office has been working well with the White House. “I’m just practically 100% behind the Great Society program,” Eckhardt says. Implementation of parts of the program more effectively through refinement and effective amendment is needed, he said, but other than that he’s for Johnson’s domestic program. “On the question of foreign policy,” he said, “I believe very much that there should be an attempt to de-escalate and to encourage negotiations. I am not in favor of a unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam.” R.D. Industrial Safety Considered Again Austin The 60th legislature, as its predecessor the 59th, and others, is considering the problem of industrial safety._ As in 1965 two bills are vying for favor. Organized labor’s bill, HB 559, is cosponsored by Reps. Carl Parker, Port Arthur, and Neil Caldwell, Angleton. This would establish an occupational safety board to write and enforce industrial safety rules. Under the board would be an advisory committee composed of an equal number of representatives of labor and management, serving with a chairman who would represent the public. Subcommittees would help draw up rules within industries. Inspectors would be hired. The teeth for enforcement of standards would be rooted in provisions of HB 559 to make violating employers liable to civil court action. The Teps Manufacturers Assn. favors gentle persuasion, as embodied in its bill, HB 495, sponsored by Rep. Gene Fondren, Taylor. The Fondren measure is almost the same bill that was passed by the last House and defeated in the Senate. Primarily it concentrates on consultation and education. to improve on-the-job safety. HEARINGS WERE conducted for the two bills last week by the House Labor Committee, whose chairman is Gene Hendryx, Alpine. Hank Brown, state AFL-CIO president, said that “since 1947 we have testified before this body urging favorable action to alleviate the human suffering and needless deaths that occur as a result of industrial accidents, but to no avail. Since 1947, more than 19,000 workers have died and over five million have been injured in Texas on the job. . . . According to the National Safety Council, Texas in 1965 sustained 6.7 deaths in industrial accidents per 100,000 population, the highest death rate among the ten largest industrial states. “Texas is the only industrial state in the nation with no safety rule-making authority to prevent industry from maiming and killing our workers,” Brown said. He criticized HB 495 for lacking enforcement authority and then he concluded . . . we urge this committee to support passage of HB 559 so we will not meet again in .1969 at the next legislative session and find that Texas is still number one in job injuries and deaths in the nation.” E. D. White, Houston, district supervisor of the U.S. Labor Dept.’s maritime safety division, testified that the division had relied on an education program until 1959, when Congress enacted legislation governing safety on ships and docks. The legislation put teeth into enforcement procedures. “In 1960,” White said, “the accident frequency rate [per million manhours] was 505. Then the new rules came into play and by 1963 the rate was down to 106. In 1966 the rate had dropped to 80.” A. B. McGinty, president of the Texas Building and Construction Trades Council and the business manager of a Houston plumbers and pipefitters local, told the committee that he had personal experience with job safety. Last year fourmembers of his union and a laborer were killed when an outside construction elevator fell. “Three of them had wives and children,” McGinty said. “Their deaths were the direct result of management chiseling pure and simple.” He explained that the experienced, regular elevator hoist operator had worked all night. Instead of calling in another experienced hand, the superintendent called on an apprentice to run the elevator. “It started to fall because a cotter pin came loose in the brake shoes,” McGinty went on. “Any experienced elevator hoist operator would have thrown the elevator’s motor into gear and stopped the fall. The apprentice just froze.” Elevators of this type have automatic locks, McGinty said. “When we examined the elevator after the tragedy we found the automatic locks, which were supposed to stop a fall, were solid rust. Even the most elementary of inspections would have prevented the death of five men.” Frank Parker, business agent of an operating engineers local in Big Spring, a union that represents refinery workers and, recently, oilfield hands, said “Since May, 1966, we’ve signed up 2,000 derrick hands and in that period ten of these new members have been killed.” Parker also said that “The oilfield contracting business is highly competitive. It’s not fair to ask one of the contractors to run a safe rig and there are very few that are when the others don’t have to. The only way to bring safety to the oil fields is through tough legislation.” He pointed out just how unsafe the industry was, as reflected in the rates for workmen’s compensation: “The cost of workmen’s comp for companies that erect and dismantle drilling rigs is 28.3% of their payroll. The cost of workmen’s comp on airline pilots is .6% of their payroll,” Parker said. B. P. TURNEY, Dallas, Texas Instruments safety director, testified against the Parker bill, stating “I say you can’t legislate safety.” Statistics, he said, show that “safety code” states don’t necessarily have safer industry; written codes tend to be too rigid; safety codes, which describe minimum safety standards, often become the maximum standards, as well; and safety is “just plain good business,” so companies don’t need much additional encouragement in this field. Turney disputed Gov. John Connally’s job safety figures quoted in his “state of the state” address, saying they were for 1964, not 1965, as Connally had said. Turney recalled that the governor had referred to Texas as being first in industrial accidents in the ten largest industrial states. But, Turney said, Texas is, second in the reduction of job accident deaths. L. P. Williams, a safety engineer for Jefferson Chemical Co., Port Arthur, said that he opposes theParker bill because it says “the board may exempt industries with good accident records.” Williams thinks the bill should use the word “shall” instead of “may.” The Parker bill, he said, might result in rigid rules, possibly reducing industry’s flexibility in finding answers to safety problems. Hendryx sent both, bills to a subcommittee composed of Parker, Fondren, and Ralph Wayne, Plainview. Wayne is a conservative and a Ben Barnes lieutenant. Hendryx told the subcommittee to “meet with Gov. Connally or his staff and work out legislation that we can pass in this session.” March 3, 1967 5
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