National Safety Group Supports 2008 OSHA Budget

Des Plaines, Ill.-based The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) said it supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) budget request for fiscal year 2008 of $490.3 million and intends to support efforts to achieve funding levels from Congress.

“OSHA budgets in recent years have not adequately kept up with inflation and this proposal is a positive effort to help OSHA meet its statutory obligations to protect workers,” ASSE President Donald S. Jones Sr., said. “This budget proposal is a meaningful increase, especially for enforcement and cooperative programs, and is a positive effort to help OSHA meet its statutory obligations to protect workers.”

Adding to OSHA’s enforcement capabilities will result in needed increases in inspections and the staff to conduct them, Jones said.

“We applaud OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr. for making enforcement the centerpiece of his budget proposal,” Jones said. “We also believe that support by OSHA for cooperative programs such as the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) has had a major positive impact on safety in the workplace. By recognizing those work sites for their enhanced safety and health performance instills pride and enhances a company’s positive reputation. It also results in significant reductions in injuries and illnesses.”

The VPP program has shown that cooperative commitments can work. ASSE supports this expansion of staff and funding as outlined in the budget to help achieve that. OSHA’s efforts to reach out to employers with ideas and tools aimed at increasing their commitment to safety and health has created a more positive climate to attain safety while not lessening OSHA’s commitment to enforcement.

However, ASSE does oppose the Administration’s effort to end funding for Harwood training grants. The Administration’s continued effort to end these grants is misdirected. They should be seen as another positive cooperative approach to expanding support for safety and health in the workplace.

ASSE identifies itself as the largest and oldest professional safety organization. Its more than 30,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries including insurance, government, labor and education.

Source: ASSE