ASSE Governmental Affairs committee chair Thomas F. Cecich, CSP, CIH, of Apex, N.C., testified today on the benefits of OSHA's cooperative programs before a Senate subcommittee. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions' Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety's hearing discussed the topic "Is OSHA Working for Working People?"
Cecich noted that while it is true that OSHA is a regulatory
enforcement agency, practicing safety professionals know that enforcement alone
is not sufficient in eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses in this
"Most SH&E professionals believe that for OSHA to
achieve its Congressional mandate of eliminating occupational injuries and
illnesses, it is essential that OSHA utilize a broad array of tools in order to
reach all types of organizations," Cecich said. "Consultative
services, alliances, cooperative programs, training and education, standards
setting and enforcement are all tools that OSHA must utilize. With less than
3000 employees to serve more than six million businesses, it is vital that OSHA
leverage all its resources to obtain the maximum benefit."
Cecich also noted opportunities to improve OSHA.
"The OSH Act has changed little in 36 years, yet during
that time, huge changes and many advances have occurred in U.S. workplaces and
our workforce," Cecich said. "However, like world-class
organizations, OSHA must seek to continuously improve its safety and health
processes. ASSE hopes that Congress can provide OSHA with the guidance and
support OSHA needs to continuously reinvent itself to meet the needs of this
"The workplace is rapidly changing due to new
technologies, a changing workforce, and globalization," Cecich said.
"Limitations in the original act, subsequent congressional and executive
branch actions, resource constraints at OSHA and a litany of private court
challenges have resulted in an inability of OSHA to update old regulations and
to develop new standards in a timely manner to protect the U.S. workforce. We
encourage Congress to engage in stakeholder dialogue to improve its
standard-setting process to protect workers while preserving the productivity
of American business."
Through its alliances and partnerships, Cecich told
the subcommittee that OSHA has been able to create quality guidance documents,
best practices and Web-based informational resources.