President Bush’s proposed $467 million budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Fiscal Year 2006 represents an increase of $2.8 million over last year's appropriation. The budget request, announced Monday by Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jonathan L. Snare, includes increases in state plan compliance assistance programs, data analysis and performance measurement, and federal enforcement.

"This is a strong and sound budget that reinforces our leadership in worker safety and health while supporting OSHA's balanced approach that emphasizes strong, fair and effective enforcement; outreach, education and compliance assistance; and cooperative and voluntary programs," Snare said.

The proposal includes a $4.6 million increase for federal enforcement. In addition to funding a planned 37,700 workplace inspections throughout FY2006, the budget also includes $1 million to expand the compliance assistance programs of states operating their own OSHA programs. State-plan states will be able to add new compliance assistance positions to establish more Voluntary Protection Program sites and new cooperative agreements and expand training and outreach.

A $2.3 million increase to OSHA's safety and health statistics budget is aimed at improving the agency’s data collection and analysis capabilities. This will enable OSHA to begin developing a predictive model to allow the agency to report performance measurement data shortly after the close of the fiscal year.

OSHA’s Susan Harwood training grants program will be eliminated, lopping $10.2 million off the FY2006 budget. This program became expendable with the emergence of OSHA’s many outreach, compliance assistance and training programs, its numerous alliances that address training, and the agency's ever-expanding Web-based training materials.