The Nixon Library, in Yorba Linda, is celebrating the 100th birthday of President Richard Nixon today. Many Americans have forgotten how much President Nixon meant to this country with regard to worker and environmental safety. As a Republican he could have opposed the legislation that founded OSHA and the EPA, among other related agencies, but he didn’t and that might be part of his greatest legacy, at least in domestic affairs.
OSHA’s website has this to say about the times Nixon lived in and the impact he had on safety in the U.S.:
The late ’60s was a turbulent time in America. The nation faced serious concerns both abroad and at home. Civil rights, women’s rights, Vietnam, and the environment all demanded the country’s attention.
At the same time, occupational injuries and illnesses were increasing in both number and severity. Disabling injuries increased 20 percent during the decade, and 14,000 workers were dying on the job each year. In pressing for prompt passage of workplace safety and health legislation, New Jersey Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. said, “The knowledge that the industrial accident situation is deteriorating, rather than improving, underscores the need for action now.” He called attention to the need to protect workers against such hazards as noise, cotton dust, and asbestos, all now covered by OSHA standards.
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