President Bush has requested a $467 million budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Fiscal Year 2006, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jonathan Snare announced.
The request represents an increase of $2.8 million from last year’s appropriation and includes increases in state plan compliance assistance programs and data analysis and performance measurement.
“The President’s proposed budget provides us the resources we need to continue making a positive impact on workplace safety and health, while still maintaining fiscal responsibility,” Snare said. “This is a strong and sound budget that reinforces our leadership in worker safety and health while supporting OSHA’s balanced approach that emphasizes strong, fair and effective enforcement; outreach, education and compliance assistance; and cooperative and voluntary programs.”
The President’s proposed budget underscores the importance of OSHA’s enforcement program, funding a planned 37,700 workplace inspections throughout FY 2006. The proposal also includes $1 million to expand the compliance assistance programs of states operating their own OSHA programs. The added monies will enable state plan states to add new compliance assistance positions that can focus on establishing more Voluntary Protection Programs sites, new cooperative agreements and expand training and outreach.
Enhancing OSHA’s data collection and analysis capabilities is reportedly the impetus behind a $1 million increase to the agency’s safety and health statistics budget. The key advantage gained by the increase will reportedly be the ability of the agency to begin developing a predictive model to allow the agency to report performance measurement data shortly after the close of the fiscal year.
OSHA’s FY 2006 budget also calls for the reduction of $10.2 million by eliminating the agency’s Susan Harwood training grants program. Snare explained that OSHA has a variety of outreach, compliance assistance and training programs. Many of OSHA’s Alliances address training components, while the agency’s web-based training materials continues to expand. The agency also offers training through the OSHA Training Institute, 19 Education Centers and train-the-trainer Outreach Training Program that reaches more than 360,000 workers annually. “The availability and success of these programs and capabilities within a constrained budget environment,” he said, “will ensure that training and outreach to thousands of workers and employers is not compromised by the elimination of the training grants program.”
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