Says Massachusetts Case Exemplifies Overzealous Regulators Drag on Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 30, 2002 – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today joined a member company in celebrating that firm’s recognition by the Central Massachusetts Chapter of the National Safety Council as an Industrial Award of Merit & Statewide Group Winner.

This award for workplace safety, coupled with his 1999 Governor’s Prize for environmental stewardship, make Jim Knott and his Riverdale Mills facility a real model for small manufacturers, said Dean Garritson, NAM Vice President for Small & Medium Manufacturers. And considering the regulatory harassment Riverdale Mills has been subjected to in recent years, particularly by OSHA, the irony of this latest award is inescapable.

Garritson referred to an administrative law case brought against Knott’s Riverdale Mills Corporation by OSHA last year.  The case is still pending.  But in a hearing last October, Ronald Morin, OSHA’s area director in Springfield, MA, testified that Knott’s plant was among the most dangerous he’d ever seen.  Testifying to the contrary were Knott and some of his 125 employees who make specialized wire and security fencing in Northbridge, MA.   

If someone is, in fact, polluting the environment illegally or subjecting employees to hazardous working conditions, then they ought to face the music, said Knott, Riverdale Mills President. But in my case, I’ve always gone out of my way for my employees’ safety and a clean environment, and I still have to endure inspection shut downs and legal costs to defend against the trumped up charges of an individual bureaucrat trying to build his career by tearing my business down.

And I’m not the only guy who faces this kind of thing, Knott continued. When small business owners should be focusing their limited resources on capital investment, product development, job creation, and worker training, too many of us are paying lawyers, testifying in court, or simply caving in to bureaucratic extortion and paying unwarranted fines.

Coincidentally, the NAM just filed requested comments with the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs stating, among other things, that, the true measure of a regulation’s effectiveness is whether the stated goal has been met, not the number of agency citations.

Knott’s firm will receive its award at the Safety Council’s annual awards banquet to be held at the Wachusett Country Club, 187 Prospect Street in West Boylston, on June 13, 2002.