Last week, the Bush administration published a proposed rule that would add an extra step to the process of creating federal standards for toxics and other hazardous substances in the workplace. The rule, which was reportedly rushed so it could take effect before President Bush leaves office, has been widely criticized by unions and other worker advocates as an unnecessary delay that ultimately won’t help workers. “It’s a terrible idea,” said workplace safety professor David Michaels. “It will lead to more delays in setting new standards, and it gives parties that oppose new regulations an opportunity to confuse the regulatory process.” The regulatory process is already incredibly lengthy for setting new federal workplace safety standards, and at least in some cases, the additional proposed step could tack on a few more years. “Now, to put out a rule for a complex hazard takes a good eight years. Without question, this will add another year or two,” said Peg Seminario of the AFL-CIO.