From the January 1996 issue of Entrepreneur

In regard to the "Capitol Issues" column [October 1995], which seems to present the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as the guardian of safety and friend of the small-businessman [sic], I must take exception. I get the feeling [author Stephen] Barlas thinks OSHA is our friend and the 104th Congress is the enemy that would put us all at risk.

I run a small business that has an extremely good record for safety and minimal hazard for its employees, and OSHA regulations have added 15 to 20 percent to our overhead through ridiculous regulations. In a poor economy, these costs don't get passed on-you eat them. You are under constant threat from irate employees who could initiate an inspection that could produce enough fines to put you out of business instantly.

You will notice that I write this letter anonymously. Well, government bureaucracy scares the hell out of me. I personally hope the 104th Congress eliminates [OSHA].

NAME WITHHELD

Paper Chase

I am very disturbed by the attitude of most businesspeople and their total disregard of the limited resources on our very fragile planet. In the article "Pulp Friction" [on rising paper costs] in October's "Business Beat," it seems all that businesspeople care about is the bigger chunk of money higher paper prices take from their profits. [Meanwhile,] they are decimating nature.

Here's a new idea: How about we stop using trees, period? A wonderful plant called kenaf grows rapidly and [creates a] finished product that looks exactly like paper made from a tree. It costs a little more, but if the entire business community used this product, prices would plummet, and our forests and endangered species would no longer be devastated.

Let's all pull together and show some moral responsibility. Spending a little more on your bottom line for the future of our country and humanity is good for business.

LYNELL FAY

Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

Testing, Testing

The item "Stop, Thief!" in October's "Taking Charge" caught my attention, and I read it with great interest. While it contained some wonderful information about [dealing with] employee theft, I believe that the most important point was missed-preventing the hiring of such employees!

Employment law experts are counseling employers to perform background screens and drug tests on all employees hired. It is not a matter of "Can I afford to?" but rather "Can I afford not to?"

Thorough background screening and drug testing can not only protect you against employee theft but may also reduce workers' compensation claims, violence in the workplace and negligent hiring issues.

This is the '90s, and we employers must learn to be proactive, not reactive! After all, if other companies are screening out "bad" employees, guess where they're all ending up? Can you afford that? I can't!

KAREN LAUSTSEN

Executive Vice President

U.S. Alcohol Testing of America Inc.

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Population Control

Regarding your October feature "30 Best Cities for Small Business," I am curious as to why you placed San Antonio in the "midsized city" range. San Antonio is the 10th largest city in the United States, and its population is much larger than many areas listed in the "large city" range.

DONNA PRICE

Owner, Price Construction

Laredo, Texas

Editor's Note: Although we labeled our ranked locales "cities," they were actually the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) used by the U.S. Census Bureau. MSAs can include both a city and its surrounding areas. Some of the "larger cities' may have had more densely populated surrounding areas than San Antonio and thus were ranked as larger.

The Pursuit Of Quality

"Small firms put quality first." [This] was the very first thing I read about quality management in 1990. Since then I have read many articles and books. I have also attended some seminars involving the theme.

Complementing the letter of Mark Pincus from PearlMark International ("Letters," September), I would like to mention implementing TQM [total quality management] in a company is a never-ending process. TQM is a combination of the team forces engaged in a mutual [goal] to bring continual results.

One of the most important aspects of this concept is the correct use of Statistical Process Control. This is a powerful tool that, combined with the team expectations, can lead a company to success. I encourage whoever is interested in this concept to read the following authors: Joseph M. Juran, Philip Crosby and W. Edwards Deming.

LUCIANO P. BASTOS

Ultralens Ind. Optica Ltda.

Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Contacts & Comments

If you would like to reach any of the businesses reported on in this issue, turn to Contact Sources on page 366.

For more information on products advertised in this issue, see our Resources for Today's Entrepreneur on page 119.

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