OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA Trade Release
February 2, 2004
Contact: Layne Lathram
Phone: (202) 693-1999
New Budget Promotes Balanced Approach to Workplace Safety and Health
WASHINGTON -- OSHA Administrator John Henshaw today announced the President's budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for FY 2005 is $461.6 million, a net increase of $4.1 million over the appropriation for FY 2004. The budget includes $2 million in new funding to fulfill OSHA's responsibilities under the 14 whistleblower statutes that the agency enforces and $6.6 million increase to expand outreach and compliance assistance programs, including $500,000 targeted at reaching small businesses.
The President's FY 2005 budget request for OSHA reflects the agency's continued focus on strong, fair and effective enforcement; outreach, education and compliance assistance; and cooperative and voluntary programs.
"The President's proposed budget makes the best possible use of the resources we have to keep driving down the numbers of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths," said John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "This is a balanced approach, and it works. This budget will help us achieve a greater impact on worker health and safety."
Under the President's proposed budget, enforcement remains a high priority for OSHA. OSHA is planning to conduct 37,700 inspections of workplaces in FY 2005, the same number as planned in FY 2004. OSHA's responsibilities under 14 various whistleblower statues have expanded, especially with the addition of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act (Sarbanes-Oxley). The budget includes an additional $2 million to provide essential contract support to sustain the investigative effort and expertise needed to handle whistleblower investigations.
"Strong, fair, effective enforcement coupled with compliance assistance, outreach and education, and partnerships is the recipe for success," continued Assistant Secretary Henshaw. "We are building on our successes and on our strategies that work."
Reaching out to and partnering with employers and employees to help them make workplaces safe and healthy is also at the top of OSHA's agenda. The agency is requesting an additional $6.6 million to expand compliance assistance and outreach activities. This request includes $4.4 million and 2 FTE to provide increased support to the agency's compliance assistance specialists who work closely with employers to improve safety and health programs in their workplaces, as well as to expand the national Alliance program and develop new eTools. It also includes $500,000 to expand assistance to small businesses, which employ more than half the nation's private sector workers. The request also contains a $1.7 million increase for the consultation program.
Other compliance assistance programs will also benefit from the additional funding, including OSHA's voluntary and partnership programs and more targeted outreach to non-English-speaking workers.
A summary of the FY 2005 budget request for OSHA follows in the accompanying fact sheet.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
FY 2005 Proposed Budget
OSHA's FY 2005 proposed budget will enable the agency to continue its efforts to keep driving workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths toward zero. This approach is getting results-fatalities declined 6.6 percent from 2001 to 2002. Injury and illness rates for 2002 stand at 5.3 per 100 workers. In FY 2005, OSHA will continue its three strategies:
- Strong, fair and effective enforcement
- Outreach, education and compliance assistance
- Cooperative and voluntary programs
OSHA will continue to develop standards in line with the Regulatory Agenda. The agency also plans to produce additional guidance products, such as the ergonomics guidelines and information for high risk workplaces currently under development.
The FY 2005 budget maintains compliance safety and health officer strength at 1,123. It provides funding for 37,700 inspections, the same as FY 2003 and FY 2004.
The budget proposal also includes $2 million in new funds to support whistleblower enforcement. OSHA is now responsible for investigating whistleblower complaints under 14 statutes, and the agency's workload has significantly increased. The agency averages 75 complaints annually under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR 21). Over the past 18 months the agency has also received nearly 200 complaints under the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002 (Sarbanes/Oxley).
The President has proposed an additional $6.6 million for compliance assistance and outreach. This includes $1.7 million for additional consultation visits through higher grants to states. These visits help small businesses in high hazard industries find and fix hazards and establish effective safety and health management systems.
There is also $500,000 for expanded assistance to small business through technology-based training, additional help on OSHA's website for interpreting regulations and identifying hazards and training through OSHA's 20 Ed Centers across the country as well as other training providers.
Almost $4.4 million would go toward increased compliance assistance, including new interactive software-eTools-and support for OSHA's 65+ compliance assistance specialists who provide seminars, offer training and promote OSHA's cooperative programs such as Alliances and partnerships. These programs help employers understand that safety and health add value to businesses, workplaces and lives. This is the first step in building a safety culture.
These cooperative efforts are proving successful in reducing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Voluntary Protection Programs participants have injury and illness rates 51 percent lower than others in their industries. OSHA Strategic Partnerships have produced dramatic results such as no fatalities and a 47-percent lower Days Away from Work rate at Soldier's Field in Chicago over an 18-month partnership. OSHA Alliance participants have contributed to educational materials such as 48 safety and health topics pages on OSHA's website and a dozen eTools.
In FY 2005, OSHA would also target additional resources toward providing safety and health information to hard-to-reach populations such as teens and immigrants. Other issues the agency intends to address through outreach rather than regulation include workplace violence and traffic fatalities.
Revised Training Grant Program
Under the President's proposed budget, OSHA would revise the Susan Harwood training grants program to focus on new technologies and emphasize development of training materials rather than delivery of training. The program would be open to colleges, universities and community colleges; faith-based and community-based groups; and professional organizations. Training products could be delivered through new technologies, such as the web. Developers would track and evaluate the use of the training.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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