Statement by Lawrence Sloan, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, AIHA:
When President Donald J. Trump released his full budget request for Fiscal Year 2018 he did many in the OEHS community a favor, because he ignited a needed conversation about the real value of worker health and safety to the people of this nation. AIHA is greatly concerned with the proposed cuts to several agencies and programs, including: OSHA and the Susan Harwood Training Grants, NIOSH and its Education and Research Centers, as well as their Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Program, and the Chemical Safety Board.
Overall, AIHA's message to the President is this: You cannot make America great again without protecting the health and safety of America's workers. More, not less, must be done.
As we work towards our common goals of improvement and the possible paths for getting there, we find ourselves confronted with several questions: How long will we wait to change the fact that each day 150 people die from work-related injuries and diseases? How long will we wait to change the reality that each week U.S. businesses spend more than a billion dollars on nonfatal workplace injuries alone?
The conversation President Trump started with his budget request is much welcomed because we cannot afford to continue on our current path. The case for investing in protecting worker health and safety has never been clearer: businesses benefit by improving worker health and safety. In like fashion, taxpayer dollars are positively leveraged when investing in the same.
Without question, there are efficiencies to be gained from programmatic reform. However, a great country is not built from a slash-and-burn approach. Instead, to unleash the full productivity of America's work force, nothing short of a funding renaissance - guided by the expert input of the private sector and the associations that represent those professionals - is necessary.
Unless America invests in building our worker health and safety infrastructure through a focus on research, education, awareness, and training, we may never escape our present malaise. The opportunity for change is within our grasp, but we must have the courage, wisdom, and fortitude to act. We welcome the opportunity to work with the President to solve these pressing national problems.
Lawrence Sloan, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, AIHA
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA's 8,500 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia. More information is available at www.aiha.org.