WASHINGTON—In an attempt to address the troubling number of genetic transformations occurring in workplaces across the nation, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration unveiled new regulations this week aimed at reducing on-the-job mutations, sources confirmed.
While the revised precautions, inspection procedures, and training requirements apply to all places of work, those facilities that engage in bioengineering, pharmaceutical development, hazardous waste processing, and nuclear energy—industries that have all recently seen a sharp uptick in employees sprouting tentacles and compound eyes—are expected to be impacted most by the new protocols.
“No one should have to go to work worried they’ll come home with the head of a Venus flytrap.”
“Over the past several years, we’ve seen far too many workers suddenly develop antennae, multiple limbs, and other insect-like features, prompting us to institute this range of new safety measures,” OSHA assistant secretary of labor David Michaels said during a press conference, later stressing that compliance with the new rules and screening procedures will protect the American workforce from developing scaly armadillo-like plates in place of their skin as a result of being exposed to toxic materials. “Instead of simply trying to mitigate the situation when, say, an improperly contained pathogen causes an infected employee to grow functional, full-sized mouths on the palms of their hands, we should prevent such mishaps from occurring in the first place.”
“No one should have to go to work worried they’ll come home with the head of a Venus flytrap,” he added, citing a recent highly publicized negligence case at a California agrochemical plant in which a valve ruptured, leading to a scientist inhaling highly unstable gas compounds that altered his natural genetic makeup.
According to a report released by OSHA earlier this month, 27 percent of the more than 11,000 workers affected in the last calendar year transformed into animal-human hybrids—usually rat-men and rat-women—while 19 percent developed ossified bone exoskeletons. Slightly less than half are said to have suffered from general physical deformities such as the proliferation of excess ears, toes, and anuses, and a small but significant number, less than 10 percent, were reportedly affected on a quantum level, developing mutations that made them age in reverse or rapidly cycle in and out of the visible spectrum.
“We learned a valuable lesson when that reactor maintenance procedure went horribly wrong in Toledo,” said Michaels in reference to a case in which 144 employees at a nuclear power plant were exposed to radiation that rewrote their DNA, causing them to generate tongue cells over every square inch of their bodies and forcing them henceforth to taste every surface they came in contact with. “It’s time we crack down on employers who think their workers’ genome stability is something to be taken for granted.”
“We as a country simply cannot look the other way when our hardworking fellow citizens become screaming, undifferentiated pools of milky slurry,” he continued.
After some employers reportedly took issue with the new policies, citing the high implementation costs of ventilating fission units or installing new titanium pipes to carry toxic waste, OSHA countered by explaining how preventing any chance of employees developing silk-secreting glands, spinning cocoons, and pupating within them for upwards of three weeks at a time would save companies millions in lost productivity. The agency has also made the case for the regulations from an ethical standpoint, arguing that if even one person is saved from a particle collider malfunction that causes them to spontaneously sprout the head of a cobra and the limbs of a mongoose that viciously attack one another all day long, then the costs are justified.
For many employees in high-risk industries, however, the recent changes to federal workplace safety laws are reportedly too little, too late.
“Do you know how hard it is to see your wife try to hide her disgust every time she looks at you?” said former lab technician Timothy Valdez from his scorched and smoldering living room, after acute exposure to experimental growth hormones resulted in him developing slick eel-like skin and generating a powerful electrical current that courses through his body and regularly discharges into whatever he touches. “The worst part is, all of this could have easily been prevented by just properly labeling the test tubes.”
“I just want to be able to hug my kids again,” Valdez added.