Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jonathan Snare reported that President Bush has requested a $483.7 million budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in fiscal year 2007. The request represents a boost of $11.2 million over final FY 2006 appropriations and includes increases for federal enforcement, compliance assistance and safety and health statistics.
Snare explained that the increase will help the agency maintain its balanced approach to workplace safety and health which includes enforcement programs, outreach, education and compliance assistance, partnerships and cooperative programs. Said Snare, “As we celebrate our 35th anniversary as America’s workplace safety and health leader, the President has proposed a budget that gives us the resources we need to continue to improve our efforts to further cut worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities. This budget reinforces our balanced approach to worker safety and health-an approach that works.”
The budget contains two major initiatives to enhance OSHA’s mission. First, a total of $7.5 million has been allocated to develop a new occupational safety and health information system (OIS) that will replace the agency’s 15-year-old Integrated Management Information System (IMIS). The new system will ensure OSHA’s ability to measure results and provide accurate and timely information on all OSHA enforcement and compliance assistance programs.
Secondly, the budget proposal includes $2.6 million to expand outreach for Hispanic and other non-English speaking workers, as well as for workers involved in cleanup and recovery operations along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
As in previous years, the President’s proposed budget reportedly emphasizes a continued strong, fair and effective enforcement program. OSHA has planned 37,700 workplace inspections throughout the year and will continue to focus its resources on workplaces and industries with high rates of injuries and illnesses.
The budget proposes discontinuing the Susan Harwood training grants program-those monies will fund the new OIS system and increased compliance assistance activities. “The availability of a variety of programs and capabilities to provide outreach and training to the regulated community allows us an opportunity to discontinue a rather narrowly-focused training program,” Snare explained. “Funding these high priority initiatives is critical and we can accomplish it without compromising the high-quality training available for employers and workers.”
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