ISHN

OSHA plans to reduce its ten regional offices to seven

January 25, 2013

OSHAIf OSHA’s fiscal year 2013 budget ever gets formal approval by Congress, part of the budget plan calls for cost-savings by consolidating three of the agency’s ten regional offices.

States the FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification for OSHA: “In an effort to streamline agency operations, OSHA is reorganizing its regional structure and jurisdictional authority from its current operation of 10 Regional Offices (ROs) to seven. The reorganization will involve the consolidation of OSHA’s Regions 1 (Boston) and 2 (New York); Regions 7 (Kansas City) and 8 (Denver); and, Regions 9 (San Francisco) and 10 (Seattle). These consolidations are expected to result in a savings of $1,300,000 and 3 FTE.

OSHA’s proposed enforcement budget for FY2013 calls for a cut of $677,604 due to the office consolidations.

Fiscal year 2013 began October 1, 2012, but Congress has failed to adopt an FY budget for the federal government. Agencies such as OSHA has been operating under a “continuing resolution” scheduled to expire in March.

Congress on January 1, 2013 delayed for two months the automatic “sequestration cuts” that were scheduled to take place as one of the many moves to put the federal government’s financial house in order. If nothing is done to end the current gridlock over remedies (tax cuts, domestic spending cuts, especially in defense, Medicare and Medicaid), approximately $100 billion in automatic spending cuts will take place.

That translates to an approximately eight percent budget cut for federal agencies such as OSHA.

Were that to happen, OSHA would likely respond in a manner similar to a business faced with harsh economic realities. You would probably see spending cuts in travel, training, compliance assistance, and layoffs.

OSHA currently has a compliance staff of about 1,580 enforcement personnel and a total headcount of slightly more than 2,300 employees.

Once source tells ISHN there has been talk of further office consolidation, possibly reducing OSHA’s ten regional offices to five.